More than 45 years after his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s writings and oratory prowess continue to inspire countless individuals. King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech remains one of the most referenced and revered collections of words ever spoken aloud; his passionate conviction is what made that speech so profound and far-reaching. Today, we celebrate King’s legacy, his peaceful and selfless commitment to equal rights, and his dream for a better, more equal world.
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, here are a selection of inspirational quotations from his prolific writings and speeches:
“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.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
“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.”
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns of all humanity.”
And of course, one of his most iconic verses,
“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.”
For more information about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., visit The King Center.