If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain. If I can do my duty as a Christian ought, if I can bring salvation to a world once wrought, if I can spread the message as the master taught, then my living will not be in vain.
~ in a sermon preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church and replayed at his funeral.
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.
~ in “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.
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.
At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the staircase.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. That will be a day not of the white man, nor of the black man. That will be the day of man as man.
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.