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10 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes You Probably Never Heard Before

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Best Martin Luther King Jr Quotes

This Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a special one for me on so many levels. Personally, I am currently living and teaching abroad in India and this is my first MLK Day not in New York.  Politically, everything that King stood for, his vision, his dream, his strategies for change – are just as relevant and needed, today. As the product of an interracial marriage, a piece of King’s dream lived in our home – and even more of his dream has influenced my own mission. This day always causes me to pause for major reflection and introspection.

dr martin luther king quotes

When we look at today’s conditions we are reminded that King’s work is far from finished. King’s work in more ways than one is alive within all of us. And it’s days like this that cause us to reflect on what we can control, the course of our own lives. And ask ourselves, “What am I doing for other people?” “Am I really being the best, most loving, and just version of myself?” “What do I stand for?” “What message is my life sending?”

I know these questions are deep, heavy and confrontational. But they are also essential if we plan to live with integrity and meaning.

When you read these Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes see what issues, causes and problems pop up into your mind. Acknowledge them. Study after study show that lives lived attached to meaning and purpose are the most fulfilling. The beautiful struggle of being connected to a worthy cause can bring rewards that transcend anything money can buy. How easy we can forget that.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

1.) “Violence never really deals with the basic evil of the situation. Violence may murder the murderer, but it doesn’t murder murder. Violence may murder the liar, but it doesn’t murder lie; it doesn’t establish truth. Violence may even murder the dishonest man, but it doesn’t murder dishonesty. Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it doesn’t murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere. This is the ultimate weakness of violence: It multiplies evil and violence in the universe. It doesn’t solve any problems.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

dr martin luther king quotes

2.) “In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…This is the inter-related structure of reality.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

dr martin luther king jr quotes

3.) “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 with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary. Science keeps religion from singing into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzingly obscurantism. Religion prevents science from falling into the marsh of obsolete materialism and moral nihilism.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

dr martin luther king quotes

4.) “Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

dr martin luther king jr quotes

5.) “Time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. 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. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to work to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

dr martin luther king jr quotes

6.) “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture of their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

dr martin luther king jr quotes

7.) “And in every one of us, there’s a war going on. It’s a civil war. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care where you live, there is a civil war going on in your life. And every time you set out to be good, there’s something pulling on you, telling you to be evil. It’s going on in your life. Every time you set out to love, something keeps pulling on you, trying to get you to hate. Every time you set out to be kind and say nice things about people, something is pulling on you to be jealous and envious and to spread evil gossip about them. There’s a civil war going on. There is a schizophrenia, as the psychologists or the psychiatrists would call it, going on within all of us. And there are times that all of us know somehow that there is a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jekyll in us…There’s a tension at the heart of human nature. And whenever we set out to dream our dreams and to build our temples, we must be honest enough to recognize it.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

dr martin luther king quotes

8.) “One of the greatest problems of history is that the concepts of love and power are usually contrasted as polar opposites. Love is identified with a resignation of power and power with a denial of love. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

dr martin luther king quotes

9.) “Unless you have found something in life to live for that is more important to you than your own life, you will always be a slave. For all another man needs to do is threaten to take your life to get you to do his bidding.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

dr martin luther king jr quotes

10.) “So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

dr martin luther king quotes

Which MLK quotes spoke to your heart and soul? What other quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. would you add to the list?

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