"Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve."

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

BAF CELEBRATES Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

QUOTES BY DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn. The reality of substantial investment to assist Negroes into the twentieth century, adjusting to Negro neighbors and genuine school integration, is still a nightmare for all too many white Americans…These are the deepest causes for contemporary abrasions between the races. Loose and easy language about equality, resonant resolutions about brotherhood fall pleasantly on the ear, but for the Negro there is a credibility gap he cannot overlook. He remembers that with each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash.”

— Where Do We Go From Here: 1967

"I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice [...]"

-Letter from Birmingham Jail August 1963

 

“We are now making demands that will cost the nation something. You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with the captains of industry….Now this means that we are treading in difficult waters, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong…with capitalism…here must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism.” -Essay from 1967

 

"To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.

"No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."

 

"We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and for justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

--Martin Luther King, Jr., "Conscience and the Vietnam War," The Trumpet of Conscience, 1968 

 

"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.

--Martin Luther King, Jr., Address in Acceptance of Nobel Peace Prize, 10 December 1964 

 

"In struggling for human dignity the oppressed people of the world must not allow themselves to become bitter or indulge in hate campaigns. To retaliate with hate and bitterness would do nothing but intensify the hate in the world. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can be done only by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives.

--Martin Luther King, Jr., undated 

 

"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.

--Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963 

BOOKS BY DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

Strength to Love. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1963. This is a collection of Dr. King’s most requested sermons.

 

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1958. Dr. King’s first book; the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the beginning of the Nonviolent Civil Rights Movement.

 

The Trumpet of Conscience. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1968. (Foreword by Coretta Scott King.) This book is taken from the 1967 Massey Lectures which King gave through the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. King addresses issues including the Vietnam War, youth and civil disobedience and concludes with the “Christmas Sermon for Peace.”

 

Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1967. An assessment of America’s priorities and a warning that they need to be re-ordered.

 

Why We Can’t Wait. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1963. The essential writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. , James M. Washington, ed.