Although Martin Luther King Day was celebrated in the month of January I can’t help but be reminded…As a child, Dr. King’s speeches were mesmerizing—his voice commanded your attention. I considered him a statesman with high moral fortitude. A visionary who was truly concerned about the soul of this nation. Still, a bullet took his life in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4th, 1968. I remember it as though it were yesterday. We were in choir rehearsal when the news of his death came. That was one of the saddest days I can remember. There were tears and prayers in our community and violent riots broke out everywhere.

A winner of the Nobel Peace Prize—An advocate of peace. Yet those days following his death were filled with hurt, anger, chaos, and violence. Five years earlier we’d seen the assassination of our nations’ Commander and Chief, John F, Kennedy. Now once again, it looked like all the poor people’s hope was snatched away. Martin’s life may have ended, but his vision changed a nation, and his words still inspire a generation today.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s legacy, here are ten of his most inspirational quotes that still ring true concerning our nation today.

  1. “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars”
  2. “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”  
  3. “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.”
  4. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
  5. “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.”
  6. “We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.” 
  7. “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”  
  8. “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat.” 
  9. “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”
  10. “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. ”

He’d Been To The Mountaintop…

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  1. He was a great speaker! He taught and led his heart. I often wonder how different the world might be like today he and JFK were still alive?

    I remember where I was and what I was doing when we heard they were killed. These deaths helped shape my life.


  2. For all the “rewriters” of history who try to impugn the character of everyone from George Washington to MLK, one must put priority on what they left behind. Was the world better or worse for their having lived among us, and what did they say that made its mark on our lives.
    MLK was thus one of the greatest leaders our nation ever birthed, and whatever foibles to which he was subject are best left in history’s dustbin, and what he preached is best mirrored in our lives.
    And the man was only 39 when the cowards killed him.
    “Oh, the worst of all tragedies is not to die young, but to live until seventy-five and yet not ever truly to have lived.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)


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