Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, the home of the Ku Klux Klan. Raised in a middle class household, King experienced racism throughout his childhood. As he got older, he started hating white people, even though his parents continued to tell him that he should not.
In September 1944, King entered Morehouse College, and everything began to change. He met white people who shared his ideas of justice, and he joined the Intercollegiate Council, a mixed race organization.
His path eventually led him to the ministry, and after receiving a doctorate, King and his wife moved back to the South, ending up in Montgomery, Alabama.
On December 1, 1955 one of King’s parishioners, Rosa Parks, refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger. A few days later, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his first speech. The rest, as they say, is history.
In tribute to a man who changed the United States, if not the world, forever, I have compiled a collection of inspiring quotes spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr.
We must all learn to live together as brothers. Or we will all perish together as fools.
Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.
Hate begets hate; violence begets violence.
There is within human nature an amazing potential for goodness.
It may well be that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition is not the glaring noisiness of the so-called bad people, but the appalling silence of the so-called good people.
True peace is not merely the absence of tension, but it is the presence of justice and brotherhood.
But we simply cannot have peace in the world without mutual respect.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
People are often surprised to learn that I am an optimist. They know how often I have been jailed, how frequently the days and nights have been filled with frustration and sorrow, how bitter and dangerous are my adversaries…They fail, however, to perceive the sense of affirmation generated by the challenge of embracing struggle and surmounting obstacles.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
For more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and other inspiring people, read 10 Revolutionary Acts of Courage by Ordinary People.