20 of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Most Inspiring Quotes

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The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr continues to inspire many, including myself. As a formative figure in the modern fight for civil rights, King embodied servant leadership, unconditional love, and uncompromising faith in God. Here are 20 quotes that have particularly influenced my worldview and inspired me to live a life worthy of God’s calling and purpose.  

#1 – The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

#2 –  Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

#3  – Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

#4 – A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. 

#5 – Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

#6 – Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

#7 – A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.

#8 – 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.

#9– I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

#10 – 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.

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

#12 – 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. 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.

#13 – In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

#14 – 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. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

#15 – 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.

 #16 – Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

#17 – I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

#18 – We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

#19 – Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.

#20 – The time is always right to do what is right.

Question: Which quotes resonates with you most?