Martin Luther King
Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right
Optimism and Pessimism
Mistakes, Oversights, Misfortune
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.
Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality.
Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live.
...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. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man.
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values -- that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.
I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up against our most bitter opponents and say:”We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you.... But be assured that we’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.
Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete. There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force... If we assume that life is worth living, if we assume that mankind has the right to survive, then we must find an alternative to war.
If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo 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 streetsweeper who did his job well.
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
Perspective on Life
I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.
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.
Segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality.
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
We have flown the air like birds and swum the seas like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
God is not merely interested in the freedom of brown men, yellow men, red men and black men.He is interested in the freedom of the whole human race.
We must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.
Rich, Poor, Generosity
Life's most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?
The time is always right to do what is right.
Education, Personal Development, Personal Responsibility
There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, popular, or political; but because it is right.