Home » Resources » 201 Most Inspirational Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Quotes

201 Most Inspirational Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Quotes

Enjoy and share 201 inspirational DR. Martin Luther King Jr quotes, One of the most polarizing civil rights leaders of all time. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 until his death in 1968. He was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta Georgia. Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis Tennessee

Like a quote and want to share?. Just click on any image or quote link to send it in a tweet of share on Facebook. It’s that easy!

Table of contents

Top Dr. Martin Luther King Quotes

“The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”


“A right delayed is a right denied.”


“I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.”


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”


“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”


“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed; We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”


“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men”


“Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.”


“I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.”


“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”


“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”


“In a sense, songs are the soul of a movement.”


“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”


“Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.”


“We spend $322 for each enemy we kill in Vietnam, while we spend in the so-called “war on poverty” in America only about $53 for each person classified as poor.”


“Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts.”


“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”


“Whatever career you may choose for yourself – doctor, lawyer, teacher – let me propose an avocation to be pursued along with it.”


“If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”


“There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”


“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”


“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”


“You can kill the dreamer, but you can’t kill the dream.”


“There is no deficit in human resources; the deficit is in human will.”


“A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.”


Most Famous Dr. Martin Luther King Quotes

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”


“Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty we are free at last.”


“Perhaps the worst sin in life is knowing right and not doing it.”


“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”


“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”


“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”


“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”


“I was not afraid of the words of the violent, but of the silence of the honest.”


“I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.”


“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”


“Be the peace you wish to see in the world!.”


“We must in strength and humility meet hate with love.”


“Music is the best consolation for a despaired man.”


“Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.”


“We must shift the arms race into a ‘peace race’.”


“Without justice, there can be no peace.”


“Darkness is only driven out with light, not more darkness.”


“Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.”


“Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.”


“Seeing is not always believing.”


“A lie cannot live.”


“Find a voice in a whisper.”


“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”


“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’.”


“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”


Emotional & Meaningful Dr. Martin Luther King Quotes

“The best way to solve any problem is to remove its cause.”


“A productive and happy life is not something you find; it is something you make.”


“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”


“The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.”


“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”


“We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”


“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”


“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”


“Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection.”


“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”


“Unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”


“There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.”


“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”


“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”


“No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent.”


“I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made.”


“As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars.”


“The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.”


“Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.”


“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”


“You can have no influence over those for whom you have underlying contempt.”


“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.”


“A social movement that only moves people is merely a revolt. A movement that changes both people and institutions is a revolution.”


“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying.”


Overcoming, Leadership & Education Dr. Martin Luther King Quotes

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”


“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.”


“The group consisting of mother, father and child is the main educational agency of mankind.”


“We must remember that intelligence is not enough … The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.”


“Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”


“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”


“It’s not burn baby burn, but learn, baby, learn, so that you can earn, baby, earn.”


“Our children need our presence, not our presents.”


“Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.”


“Courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”


“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.”


“Freedom has always been an expensive thing. History is fit testimony to the fact that freedom is rarely gained without sacrifice and self-denial.”


“All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.”


“I submit to you that if a man has’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”


“We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”


Justice, Equality & Poverty Dr. Martin Luther King Quotes

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”


“What good does it do to sit at the counter when you cannot afford a hamburger?.”


“It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed, and only $53 annually on the victims of poverty.”


“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”


“Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.”


“It is hardly a moral act to encourage others patiently to accept injustice which he himself does not endure.”


“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”


“On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act.”


“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.”


“The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”


“Voting is the foundation stone for political action.”


“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”


“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age.”


Love, Faith & Humanity Dr. Martin Luther King Quotes

“Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.”


“We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.”


“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”


“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”


“There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”


“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”


“Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.”


“Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.”


“To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe.”


“Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization.”


“I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism.”


“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”


“Whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth.”


“This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.”


“Like the ever-changing cycle of the seasons, life has the soothing warmth of the summers and the piercing chill of its winters.”


“So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!.”


“When people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.”


“If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.”


“Evil can be cast out, not by man alone nor by a dictatorial God who invades our lives, but when we open the door and invite God through Christ to enter.”


“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”


“In a real sense faith is total surrender to God.”


“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”


“Make a career of humanity… It will enrich your spirit as nothing else possibly can.”


“People who have stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don’t have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.”


“Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose.”


“Love is the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.”


“My faith in man is, at bottom, a faith in God.”


“When I speak of love, I am speaking of that force which all the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life.”


“This often misunderstood and misinterpreted concept has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man.”


“In some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”


“There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”


“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”


Darkness, Racism & Hate Dr. Martin Luther King Quotes

“The more there are riots, the more repressive action will take place, and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society.”


“Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”


“Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible.”


“Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all.”


“The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”


“Stumbling and groping through the wilderness finally must be replaced by a planned, organized and orderly march.”


“War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”


“A riot is the language of the unheard.”


“We stand in life at midnight; we are always at the threshold of a new dawn.”


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”


“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”


“The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.”


“Commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country and a finer world to live in.”


“The problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.”


“In the struggle for human rights and justice, Negros will make a mistake if they become bitter and indulge in hate campaigns.”


“To be a Negro in America is to hope against hope.”


“It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society.”


“Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.”


“The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism.”


“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”


“A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.”


“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”


“Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity.”


“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”


“Darkness cannot be overcome with more darkness, only with light. Violence cannot be overcome with more violence, only with peace.”


“I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will.”


“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”


“In spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace.”


“Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.”


“Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.”


“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.”


“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.”


Peace, Protest & Nonviolence Dr. Martin Luther King Quotes

“We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.”


“Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”


“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake.”


“The silence of the good people is more dangerous than the brutality of the bad people.”


“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”


“It’s not the violence of the few that scares me, it’s the silence of the many.”


“To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.”


“We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.”


“Peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but the existence of justice for all people.”


“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”


“It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.”


“I firmly believe that the Gandhian philosophy of nonviolent resistance is the only logical and moral approach to the solution of the race problem in the United States.”


“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”


“Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”


“We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.”


“We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.”


“We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community.”


“We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”


“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”


“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”


“We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”


Wrapping Things Up

If you like any of the quotes we have posted above please share this page or share any individual quote just by clicking on your favorites. If you have any quotes that should be added to this list drop them in the comments section below. Let me know which quote is your favorite. I really realllly appreciate the love.