7 Important MLK Jr Quotes That Don't Get Shared Often Enough

We lost MLK Jr too soon... and yet, it’s amazing we had him as long as we did.

So many of us know all about how he was eventually assassinated, but we don’t realize just how many times his life and the lives of his family were threatened. He was stabbed and nearly had his aorta pierced, had dynamite thrown on his front porch, his church and his home and his hotel rooms all were bombed, he was frequently being threatened by individuals and whole groups of people alike.

We praise his belief in non violence without registering how much violence he constantly endured.

We honor him today but we forget how much he was hated and reviled and spit on by many of his peers.

He was truly a brilliant and incredible man. I only READ about the things he (and his followers) witnessed and experienced, and it often leaves me shaking with rage. The amount of strength and courage it took for him to continue on the path of love and logic and intelligence is astounding.

By all means, share your quotes Martin Luther King, Jr Day. There are many, many good ones to choose from. But I encourage you to do more than that.

Don’t just read and share a single quote. Locate the original source. Read or listen to the entire speech or letter it stems from. Read one of the books he wrote or one of the books written about him. Watch the movies and documentaries on his life.

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther Kind, Jr. If you read just the letters written in red ink on my tattoo, you'll see an additional message for myself. "I will not be silenced."

I’m talking to myself, too, btw. I got this MLK Jr quote tattooed on myself as a reminder for those moments when my anxiety tells me to shut up and not rock the boat, to remember that it’s important to speak up against injustice.

And yet, even though I have these words permanently etched into my skin, I hardly knew anything about the man they came from.

I’ve been working on fixing that, and I hope you’ll do the same. The parallels from when he was alive to what we’re facing these days are astonishing.

We need MLK Jr’s message now more than ever.

Most recently, I've been reading The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr, edited by Clayborne Carson. Here are seven of the quotes from this book that I believe don't get enough attention.


"I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much as a moral obligation as is cooperation with good."


"There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, 'When will you be satisfied?'

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality... No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until 'justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream'"


"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 council-er 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,

who constantly says, 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action, who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom, who lives by the mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a 'more convenient season.'"


(This is actually a continuation of the above quote.)

"Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."


"If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail."


"Segregation has always been evil, and only the misguided reactionary clothed in the thing garments of irrational emotionalism will seek to defend it. Segregation is both rationally inexplicable and morally unjustifiable.

...equality is not only a matter of mathematics and geometry, but it's a matter of psychology. It's not only a quantitative something, but it is a qualitative soemthing. And it is possible to to have a quantitative equality and qualitative inequality."


I include this one, because I think it's important to acknowledge how often Martin Luther King Jr.'s life was threatened even before there was a successful assasination and because the quote firmly establishes his message of nonviolence. Love is truly our greatest tool.

"If you one day find me sprawled out dead, I do not want you to retaliate with a single act of violence."


Jenn Scott Pickett is a freelance writer for hire who specializes in parenting and lifestyle content. She is half of the comedy duo that makes up Salty Mermaid Entertainment based in Atlanta, GA. In her free time - Wait. She's a mom of three. She doesn't have any free time. Learn more by clicking here.


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm a freelance writer for hire who specializes in parenting, relationship, and lifestyle content, with a focus on self care and mental balance. I am half of the comedy duo that makes up Salty Mermaid Entertainment based in Atlanta, GA. In my free time - Wait. I'm a mom of three. I don't have any free time. Learn more by clicking here.

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