Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity to celebrate the life of a man who worked tirelessly against racial segregation. It’s a time to remember how the persistence of determined individuals completely changed society. Today, in the United States, we observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday established in 1986 to honor the slain civil rights leader and his accomplishments.
“Each year, America sets aside [this] day to remember a giant of our Nation’s history and a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement. During his lifelong struggle for justice and equality, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions, offered a redemptive path for oppressed and oppressors alike, and led a Nation to the mountaintop (Whitehouse.gov).”
Martin Luther King – The Mountain Top
“I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Here’s a look at 25 quotes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. etched in the fabric of history; ideals that are applicable to people everywhere.
1. “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
2. “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.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
3. “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
4. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King Jr.
5. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
6. “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.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
7. “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.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
8. “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.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
9. “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
10. “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.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
11. “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.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
12. “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.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
13. “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.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
14. “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
15. “Whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
16. “Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
17. “There is no gain without struggle.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
18. “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
19. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
20. “Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
21. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
22. “Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you’re nobody.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
23. “The difference between a dreamer and a visionary is that a dreamer has his eyes closed and a visionary has his eyes open.” — Martin Luther King Jr.,
24. “Hate is too big of burden to bear. I have decided to love.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
25. “The time is always right, to do what’s right.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
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