The day is observed on the third Monday of January. An American Baptist minister, fervent activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience.
Dr. King’s legacy has surely inspired civil rights activists across the world and his vision for an non-racial and equal society is shared by many.
As we celebrate what would have been Dr. King’s 87th birthday, we look at some of the words he left us with in his quest to see a peaceful, equal and non-racial society.
1. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. I Have a Dream speech, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963.
2. “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, 1963.
3. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”.
4. “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children”. – Speech to the Negro American Labor Council, 1961.
5. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. –Letter from Birmingham Jail
6. “The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism”. –Speech to SCLC Board, March 30, 1967.
7. “Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace”. –Nobel Lecture, December, 1964.
8. “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” –Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, December, 1964.
9. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”.
10. “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education”. –Article in The Maroon Tiger, The Purpose of Education, 1947.