Martin Luther King, Jr.
Quotations


We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.

Yes, I see the Church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

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

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

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

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

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.

Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and . . . when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate.

If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.

It is my hope that as the Negro plunges deeper into the quest for freedom and justice he will plunge even deeper into the philosophy of non-violence. The Negro all over the South must come to the point that he can say to his white brother: "We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not hate you, but we will not obey your evil laws. We will soon wear you down by pure capacity to suffer."

One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

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.

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.

We have genuflected before the god of science only to find that it has given us the atomic bomb, producing fears and anxieties that science can never mitigate.

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

I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land.



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