Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States and I wanted to pause for a moment and reflect upon one of the leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement and a famed orator. He was well-known for using the power of words to overcome social injustice, his life was shortened in April 1968, at the age of 39. Yet, his purpose & vision is still alive…
Live your life,
Here are my most memorable MLK’s quotes –
The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but his body, not only his spiritual well-being, but his material well being. Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.
Pilgrimage to Non-Violence, 1960
THE PROMISED LAND:
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!
I’ve Been To The Mountaintop, 1968
INJUSTICE / OPPRESSION:
“We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”
You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression … If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Address to the first Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) Mass Meeting, at Holt Street Baptist Church, 1955
‘Injustice anywhere…’, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” –Letter from Birmingham Jail, King wrote the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on April 16, 1963 after being jailed for taking part in nonviolent demonstrations around the city.
‘Hate cannot drive out hate’
‘Hatred paralyzes life’, “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” –Strength to Love
‘Let no man pull you low…’, “Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.” –Paul’s Letter to American Christians, In this sermon on Nov. 4, 1956, King adopted the voice of the Apostle Paul to imagine what the New Testament author would have said about American society. In King’s imaginary letter, Paul called on Americans to redouble efforts to help the poor, work for social equality, and come together as a nation. He also warned that America’s spiritual development had not kept pace with its amazing scientific strides, and urged people to concentrate on faith.
THE ULTIMATE MEASURE OF A MAN:
”The ultimate measure of a man’, “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.” –Strength to Love,
‘Something he will die for…’
“I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” –Detroit
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
“Life’s most urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”
“There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
QUOTES, EXCERPTS culled from numerous sources including:
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