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

A U.S. federal holiday since 1986, we honor Martin Luther King Jr. and his accomplishments in the fight for human rights and equality for African Americans every year.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a social activist and Baptist minister who played a major role in the American civil rights movement. From the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. During that time, he was was a key activist behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, helping bring to life landmark pieces of legislation suck as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today, in honor of all of his accomplishments and in an effort to ensure that his legacy endures, I thought I’d share some of my most favorite inspiration quotes.


Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964
PHOTOGRAPH BY REG LANCASTER/DAILY EXPRESS/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES
  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 with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
  3. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
  4. “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”
  5. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
(Original Caption) Reverend Martin Luther King peers over a battery of microphones during a press conference at Christ Church near Harvard University in this photograph. King, declaring he would make an announcement on his possible candidacy for president, pled for a national volunteer group of 10,000 persons to form a political bloc “powerful enough to end the war in Vietnam.”
BETTMANN VIA GETTY IMAGES

6. “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
7. “Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.”
8. “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what’s important.”
9. “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
10. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see that whole staircase, just take the first step.”


VIA GETTY IMAGES

11. “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.”
12. “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.”
13. “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
14. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
15. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

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