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25 Powerful Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes That Inspire

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021 by Lori Geurin

Are you looking for inspirational quotes that will give you wisdom and confidence to face whatever you’re going through in life? Below are 25 of the most inspirational Martin Luther King Jr quotes.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. was an influential civil rights leader who was committed to the cause of equality for African-Americans. His work altered the course of the nation and his life has inspired so many people in search of freedom and equality.

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous I Have A Dream speech. Some of the most remembered words from that speech include:

“Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Every time I read these words my mind turns to an image of Martin Luther King Jr. standing at a podium at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. as he gives this historic speech.

You can watch him giving his I Have A Dream speech here. He gave an impressive 450 speeches a year and wrote 5 books throughout his life.

Many of his speeches focused on love, courage, freedom, and leadership. On April 4th, 1968, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee but his powerful words continue to inspire Americans today.

Below you will find 25 of his most dynamic and inspirational quotes.

Inspirational MLK quote about love

25 Inspirational Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

1. “The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others.”

2. “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

3. “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.”

4. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

5. “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”

6. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

7. “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.”

8. “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.”

MLK inspirational quote "Keep moving forward."

“Hate Is Too Great A Burden To Bear”

9. “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”

10. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

11. “He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”

12. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

13. “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

14. “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

15. “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”

16. “I came to that conclusion that there is that existential moment in your life when you must decide to speak for yourself; Nobody else can speak for you.”

17. “The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.”

Related: 10 Things Mentally Strong People Do

Martin Luther King Jr. giving his I Have A Dream speech at a podium
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. giving his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington in Washington, D.C., on 28 August 1963.

More Inspirational Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

18. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”

19. “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

20. “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

21. “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

22. “Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.”

23. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”

24. “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”

25. “No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”

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MLK inspirational quotes text overlay and an inspirational photo of the ocean, beach, and sand.

What’s your favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quote?

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