Since 1986, the third Monday in January is observed as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when we as a nation pause to reflect on the life and outstanding work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King was a social activist and Baptist minister who played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. He worked tirelessly for equality and basic human rights not only for African Americans but for the economically disadvantaged and all victims of injustice. A man dedicated to non-violence and peaceful protest, he was the force behind such watershed events in our nation’s history as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, which was instrumental in bringing about monumental legislation including the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
While his 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial or his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” have inspired millions of people around the world, this world-renowned activist, orator, and Nobel Prize winner shared many equally-uplifting and thought-provoking quotes that might not be as widely known.
Below are 11 memorable quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that you might not have heard:
- “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
- “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”
- “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”
- “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”
- “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.”
- “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.”
- “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
- “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.”
- “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
- “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.”