70 Most Inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

“We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Back in 1964, when Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35 years, he was the youngest person ever to receive the award. He was famous as a Baptist minister and civil-rights activist who was one of the 20th century’s best-known advocates for nonviolent social change.

He had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States, beginning in the mid-1950s. One of the most well-known Afro-American activists of all times, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the age of 39 years.

Even after his death, his words echoed throughout the world, which was spoken with hope. He dreamt of a bright future for all African Americans and believed that someday, things would be brighter for them and that they would finally be given the equality they deserve.

His words of education, justice, hope, perseverance, and freedom still continue to inspire us.

Let’s take a look at some of the best Martin Luther King Jr. quotes:


1. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.


2. I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.


3. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.


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


5. Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.


6. 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.


7. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.


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


9. There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.


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


11. 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.


12. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.


13. 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.


14. 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.


15. No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.


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


17. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


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


19. If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.


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


21. 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.


22. 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.


23. There comes a time when silence is betrayal.


24. 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.


26. As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.


27. 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.


28. The time is always right to do the right thing.


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


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


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


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


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


34. The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.


35. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.


36. 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.


37. 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.


38. Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.


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


40. 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.


41. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.


42. There is no gain without struggle.


43. Quietly endure, silently suffer and patiently wait.


44. It is cheerful to God when you rejoice or laugh from the bottom of your heart.


45. Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.


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


47. It does not matter how long you live, but how well you do it.


48. One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right when the head is totally wrong.


49. What affects one in a major way, affects all in a minor way.


50. We are faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words ‘Too Late’.


51. Find a voice in a whisper.


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


53. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.


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


55. We must use time creatively – and forever realize that the time is always hope to do great things.


56. The difference between a dreamer and a visionary is that a dreamer has his eyes closed and a visionary has his eyes open.


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


58. You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.


59. When you are right, you cannot be too radical; When you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.


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


61. Right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.


62. We must substitute courage for caution.


63. We are not makers of history. We are made by history.


64. A man who does not have something for which he is willing to die is not fit to live.


65. Everybody can be great; you only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.


66. The surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.


67. The human heart is like a ship on a stormy sea driven about by winds blowing from all four corners of heaven.


68. we must constantly build dykes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.


69. Nothing worthwhile is gained without sacrifice.


70. Until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him.

We hope these famous Martin Luther King Jr. quotes have inspired you. Let’s share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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