If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
A lie cannot live.
A man can't ride your back unless it's bent.
A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.
A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.
Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
We will speed the day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing... Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last.
Before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched across the pages of history the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence, we were here. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.
A right delayed is a right denied.
A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
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.
At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.
Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
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.
Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.
Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one's whole being into the being of another.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Our nettlesome task is to discover how to organize our strength into compelling power.
The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
The sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.
The ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy.
There are two types of laws -- there are just laws and there are unjust laws... What is the difference between the two? An unjust law is a man-made code that is out of harmony with the moral law.
I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of nuclear annihilation... I believe that even amid today's mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow... I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed.