10 Of Our Favorite Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

. January 21, 2019.
In this March 17, 1963, photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, sit with three of their four kids. From left: Martin Luther King III, 5, Dexter Scott, 2, and Yolanda Denise, 7.  (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
In this March 17, 1963, photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, sit with three of their four kids. From left: Martin Luther King III, 5, Dexter Scott, 2, and Yolanda Denise, 7. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

There’s nothing we can say that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has not said himself. To celebrate his life, honor his legacy, and move forward with his spirit, here are 10 of our favorite MLK quotes:

1)
“These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. ‘The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.’ We in the West must support these revolutions.”
— A Time to Break the Silence: April 4, 1967

2)
“And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”
— Grosse Pointe High School: March 14, 1968

3)
“We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.”

— A Time to Break the Silence: April 4, 1967

4)
“Why is equality so assiduously avoided? Why does white America delude itself, and how does it rationalize the evil it retains?


The majority of white Americans consider themselves sincerely committed to justice for the Negro. They believe that American society is essentially hospitable to fair play and to steady growth toward a middle-class Utopia embodying racial harmony. But unfortunately, this is a fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity.”

—  Where Do We Go From Here, 1967

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leads a march to the courthouse in Montgomery, Ala., on March 17, 1965.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leads a march to the courthouse in Montgomery, Ala., on March 17, 1965.

5)
“The problem of housing discrimination is a glaring reality all over this country, north and south; and as long as we have this problem, there will be some form of de facto segregation in the public schools and in all other areas of life.”

—The American Dream: July 4, 1965

6)
“When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

—  Revolution of Values, 1967

7)
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

— Letter from Birmingham City Jail, 1963

8)
“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.”

— A Time to Break the Silence: April 4, 1967

9)
“We must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.”

— Eulogy for the Martyred Children, 1963

10)
“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.”

— I Have a Dream, 1963