Looking for the best Martin Luther King Jr. quotes and sayings? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of the top 100 greatest MLK quotes on love, peace, friendship, leadership and more.

Popular Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes


100

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

Martin Luther King Jr Quotes


99

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


98

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


97

“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.”


96

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


95

“There is no gain without struggle.”


94

“The time is always right to do the right thing.”


93

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


92

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


91

“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.”


90

“Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”

martin luther king quotes


89

“You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid…. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.”


88

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


87

“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”


86

“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.”


85

“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.”


84

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


83

“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.”


82

“Hate destroys the hater…”


81

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”


80

“Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service… You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”

martin luther king quote


79

“If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”


78

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”


77

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”


76

“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.”


75

“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.”


74

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”


73

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


72

“You will change your mind; You will change your looks; You will change your smile, laugh, and ways but no matter what you change, you will always be you.”


71

“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.”


70

“A lie cannot live.”

martin luther king jr quote on lie


69

“Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.”


68

“It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.”


67

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”


66

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”


65

“Seeing is not always believing.”


64

“The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.”


63

“We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”


62

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”


61

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


60

“Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on. It is not man.”

martin luther king jr quote


59

“We must use time creatively.”


58

“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.”


57

“I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.”


56

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


55

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”


54

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


53

“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.”


52

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”


51

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”


50

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

martin luther king mlk quote


49

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”


48

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


47

“Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.”


46

“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”


45

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


44

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”


43

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”


42

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”


41

“We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the postive affirmation of peace.”


40

“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.”

mlk quote


39

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”


38

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


37

“Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.”


36

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”


35

“The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.”


34

“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”


33

“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.”


32

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”


31

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”


30

“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.”

martin luther king quote saying


29

“There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November.”


28

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”


27

“Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.”


26

“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.”


25

“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”


24

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


23

“The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”


22

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”


21

“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.”


20

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.”

mlk saying


19

“Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”


18

“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”


17

“I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land! I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.”


16

“War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”


15

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”


14

“There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.”


13

“The God whom we worship is not a weak and incompetent God. He is able to beat back gigantic waves of opposition and to bring low prodigious mountains of evil. The ringing testimony of the Christian faith is that God is able.”


12

“I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.”


11

“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.”


10

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

martin luther king jr quotes


9

“What is wrong in the world today is that the nations of the world are engaged in a bitter, colossal contest for supremacy.”


8

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”


7

“In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”


6

“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.”


5

“A right delayed is a right denied.”


4

“Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles; Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it. Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”


3

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”


2

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from “Loving Your Enemies”)”


1

“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practise the very antithesis of these principles. How often are our lives characterised by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anaemia of deeds! We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism. We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practise the very opposite of the democratic creed. We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time we assiduously prepare for war. We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice. This strange dichotomy, this agonising gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man’s earthly pilgrimage.”