Friday, May 06, 2005

Martin Luther King Day Quotes

The problem with hatred and violence is that they intensity the fears of the white majority, and leave them less ashamed of their prejudices toward Negroes.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 I still have a dream today that one day war will come to an end, that men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, that nations will no longer rise up against nations, neither will they study war any more.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., The Trumpet of Conscience, 1968 We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., The Trumpet of Conscience, 1968 As a teenager I had never been able to accept the fact of having to go to the back of a bus or sit in the segregated section of a train.  The first time I had been seated behind a curtain in a dining car, I felt as if the curtain had been dropped on my selfhood.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958 We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr. The first question which the priest and the Levite askedwas:  "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. Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr. The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live.  Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power.  We have guided missiles and misguided men.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963 If a man is called 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.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr. I am convinced that the universe is under the control of a loving purpose, and that in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr. [W]e are the heirs of a past of rope, fire, and murder.  I for one am not ashamed of this past.  My shame is for those who became so inhuman that they could inflict this torture upon us.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 It was argued that the Negro was inferior by nature because of Noah's curse upon the children of Ham.... The greatest blasphemy of the whole ugly process was that the white man ended up making God his partner in the exploitation of the Negro.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 Even when the polls are open to all, Negroes have shown themselves too slow to exercise their voting privileges.  There must be a concerted effort on the part of Negro leaders to arouse their people from their apathetic indifference.... In the past, apathy was a moral failure.  Today, it is a form of moral and political suicide.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958 The Negro is the child of two cultures - Africa and America.  The problem is that in the search for wholeness all too many Negroes seek to embrace only one side of their natures.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 And so we shall have to do more than register and more than vote; we shall have to create leaders who embody virtues we can respect, who have moral and ethical principles we can applaud with enthusiasm.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 There comes a time when people get tired of being plunged into the abyss of exploitation and nagging injustice.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958 If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, "There lived a great people - a black people - who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization."  This is our challenge and our overwhelming responsibility.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., address to Holt Street Baptist Church, 5 December 1955 [E]very human life is a reflection of divinity, and... every act of injustice mars and defaces the image of God in man.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 Unfortunately, most of the major denominations still practice segregation in local churches, hospitals, schools, and other church institutions.  It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning, the same hour when many are standing to sing:  "In Christ There Is No East Nor West."  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958 We were all involved in the death of John Kennedy.  We tolerated hate; we tolerated the sick stimulation of violence in all walks of life; and we tolerated the differential application of law, which said that a man's life was sacred only if we agreed with his views.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Can't Wait, 1963 President Lyndon Johnson's high spirits were marked as he circulated among the many guests whom he had invited to witness an event he confidently felt to be historic, the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.... The bill that lay on the polished mahogany desk was born in violence in Selma, Alabama, where a stubborn sheriff... had stumbled against the future.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 Liberalism provided me with an intellectual satisfaction that I never found in fundamentalism.  I became so enamored of the insights of liberalism that I almost fell into the trap of accepting uncritically everything it encompassed.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963 When the Negro was completely an underdog, he needed white spokesmen.  Liberals played their parts in this period exceedingly well.... But now that the Negro has rejected his role as an underdog, he has become more assertive in his search for identity and group solidarity; he wants to speak for himself.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 A second basic fact that characterizes nonviolence is that it does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958 Nonviolent resistance makes it possible for the Negro to remain in the South and struggle for his rights.  The Negro's problem will not be solved by running away.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958 You are quite right in calling for negotiation.  Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action.  Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., to the eight fellow clergymen who opposed the civil rights action, "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Why We Can't Wait, 1963 As I like to say to the people in Montgomery:  "The tension in this city is not between white people and Negro people.  The tension is, at bottom, between justice and injustice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness."  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958 There is such a thing as the freedom of exhaustion.  Some people are so worn down by the yoke of oppression that they give up.... The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber.... To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958 One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws.  Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Why We Can't Wait, 1963 I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and is willing to accept 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.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Why We Can't Wait, 1963 We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal."  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Why We Can't Wait, 1963 We need not join the mad rush to purchase an earthly fallout shelter.  God is our eternal fallout shelter.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963 We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism.  We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practice the very opposite of the democratic creed.... This strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man's earthly pilgrimage.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963 The Christian faith makes it possible for us nobly to accept that which cannot be changed, and to meet disappointments and sorrow with an inner poise, and to absorb the most intense pain without abandoning our sense of hope.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963 Each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against ourselves.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963 "I" cannot reach fulfillment without "thou."  The self cannot be self without other selves.  Self-concern without other-concern is like a tributary that has no outward flow to the ocean.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 The poor in our countries have been shut out of our minds and driven from the mainstream of our societies, because we have allowed them to become invisible.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Nobel Prize lecture, 11 December 1968 Without denying the value of scientific endeavor, there is a striking absurdity in committing billions to reach the moon where no people live, while only a fraction of that amount is appropriated to service the densely populated slums.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 But while so many white Americans are unaware of conditions inside the ghetto, there are very few ghetto dwellers who are unaware of the life outside.  The television sets bombard them day by day with the opulence of the larger society.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 The curse of poverty has no justification in our age.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963 Millions of citizens are deeply disturbed that the military-industrial complex too often shapes national policy, but they do not want to be considered unpatriotic.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963 Black Power is a nihilistic philosophy born out of the conviction that the Negro can't win... the view that American society is so hopelessly corrupt and enmeshed in evil that there is no possibility of salvation from within.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 Let us say boldly, that if the total slum violations of law by the white man over the years were calculated and compared with the lawbreaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man.&

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