Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. King has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism.

A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president. With the SCLC, King led an unsuccessful struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia in 1962, and organized nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama that attracted national attention following television news coverage of the brutal police response. King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. There, he established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history. He also established his reputation as a radical, and became an object of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's COINTELPRO for the rest of his life. FBI agents investigated him for possible communist ties, recorded his extramarital liaisons and reported on them to government officials, and one occasion, mailed King a threatening anonymous letter that he interpreted as an attempt to make him commit suicide.

On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. In 1965, he and the SCLC helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the following year, he took the movement north to Chicago. In the years leading up to his death, he expanded his focus to include poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled "Beyond Vietnam". King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., called the Poor People's Campaign.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. His death was followed by riots in many US cities. Allegations that James Earl Ray, the man convicted of killing him, had been framed or acted in concert with government agents persisted for decades after the shooting, and the jury of 1999 civil trial found Loyd Jowers to be complicit in a conspiracy against King. King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor.

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Simple Reminders by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Amazing Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (4)

Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (18)

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (19)

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (2)

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. (-23)

I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (24)

Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (50)

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. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (-98)

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. (-36)

Only in the darkness can you see the stars. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (49)

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (2)

A man who won't die for something is not fit to live. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (39)

Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (29)

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. (-111)

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. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (-61)

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (39)

No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they'd die for. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (17)

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (25)

Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (28)

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (0)

There comes a time when silence is betrayal. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (48)

I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (2)

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. (-55)

Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (35)

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (32)

We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (30)

Not only will we have to repent for the sins of bad people; but we also will have to repent for the appalling silence of good people. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (-19)

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. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (-76)

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. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (-110)

There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (27)

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (-30)

No person has the right to rain on your dreams. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (45)

The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (0)

"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. (-125)

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (24)

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?" ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (13)

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (-10)

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. (-39)

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (18)

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (-9)

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? ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (-110)

Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (25)

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (-19)

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (-50)

The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. (21)