Martin Luther King Jr. Day Quotes: MLK Inspiration From Slain Civil Rights Leader

Monday, January 17 is a time when people across the United States will remember and honor civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

King, the most visible advocate of voting and civil rights, was killed by an assassin on April 4, 1968. MLK Day is a federal holiday, although it was not made official until 18 years after its assassination.


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The Legacy Museum will offer free admission for Martin Luther King Jr.

Here’s a look at some of MLK’s most inspirational quotes:

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

“It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all.”

“Let no one pull you low enough to hate him.”

“We have tough days ahead of us. But it doesn’t really matter to me now because I’ve been on top of the mountain… I looked and I saw the promised land. I might not be with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will come to the promised land.

“Change does not roll on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”

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

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

“Faith takes the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

“We are not story makers. We are made by history.

“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”

“Any work that uplifts humanity has dignity and significance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

“I dream that my four grandchildren 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.”

“There comes a time when you have to take a position that isn’t safe, political, or popular, but you have to take it because your conscience tells you it’s right.”

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is deprived of the power to forgive is deprived of the power to love. There is good in the worst of us and bad in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less inclined to hate our enemies.

“Injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“If you can’t fly, run, if you can’t run, walk, if you can’t walk, crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving.”

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

“I refuse to accept the idea that humanity is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright dawn of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the last word.”

“Never be, never be afraid to do what is right. Especially if the welfare of a person or an animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to those we inflict on our souls when we look the other way.

“If I can’t do big things, I can do small things in a great way.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

“This old law of ‘an eye for an eye’ is making everyone blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.

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

“We rarely find men who willfully engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing hurts some people more than the need to think.”

“A true leader is not a consensus seeker but a consensus maker.”

“We may all have come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

“History should remember that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident outcry of the wicked, but the appalling silence of the good.”

“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”

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