Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson in the civil rights movement from 1954 through 1968.
He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. (1899–1984) and Alberta Williams King (1904–1974).
King’s parents were both African-American, and he also had Irish ancestry through his paternal great-grandfather.
1. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
2. “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
3. “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.”
4. “Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
5. “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.”
6. “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
7. “Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”
8. “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
9. “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”
10. “We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
11. “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
12. “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
13. “Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.”
14. “We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.”
15. “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”
16. “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
17. “It is cheerful to God when you rejoice or laugh from the bottom of your heart.”
18. “If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.”