Top Inspirational Martin Luther King Jr Quotes

Martin Luther King Jr was a Baptist minister, civil rights activist, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the greatest orators in history. He simply knew how to move people through words. Here is a collection of some his most inspirational quotes.

Martin Luther King worked tirelessly for racial equality- he was a superbly gifted orator who stirred the conscience of a nation with his powerful and stirring speeches.

Well known for his famous speech ’I Have a Dream’ he was a leading light in the struggle for the advancement of black civil rights by advocating nonviolent civil disobedience.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

It is easy when someone has done something terrible to us to think negative thoughts about them or the situation we find ourselves in. However, this does not solve the problem or undo what has happened. Hate and fear are the number one causes of many of the problems in the world.

Only love and forgiveness can drive out anger and hatred. King knew this and this is why although his speeches were about justice, they were also about the value of love and forgiveness.

Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase. 

Sometimes in life we just have to place one foot in front of the other and proceed blindly and trust that the universe is working for us and everything is working out just as it should.

Often we can want something so much, or try to control every aspect of our existence that we end up actively resisting all the wonderful things that could be entering into our lives. Life is much better when we accept what life has in store for us, and accept that we are exactly where we are meant to be.

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


We all have a responsibility in life not to ignore injustices and to be the voice for those without one.

We all know in our heart of hearts what is good and what is bad, and it is when we stop caring and standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves or are in some way discriminated against, that this is the day  our lives begin to end.

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. 

Life is about moving forward and moving on. We cannot allow ourselves to get stuck in a rut, or fall at the first hurdle. Instead we must keep pushing ourselves forever forward, whatever obstacles we may face.

King knew this, and although his dream of racial equality was not achieved in his lifetime, he never stopped moving forward. He never gave up even though he knew his life was constantly in grave danger.

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

Although it may at first seem easier to ’look the other way’, the truth of the matter is that our actions stay with us, etched on our soul, even when we think we have long forgotten about them.

What we do in life does have a way of coming back to us, whether good or bad. Do in your heart what you know to be right, always, regardless of the consequences.

Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.


It is not what we do for ourselves which makes us happy, but what we do for others. Being of service and helping others is the key to being happy.

This does not mean that we should all be a pushover, which is something completely different. But doing kind and generous acts from our hearts to make others happy is in itself its own reward.

People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.

Discrimination whether racial or otherwise stems from fear and ignorance, and it is this fear which leads to hatred. If only we could communicate with those we do not understand our world would be a much better and more peaceful place.

However, the good thing is that we can all practice this right now by opening lines of communication where necessary to those that we perhaps do not understand or secretly fear.

It is amazing what we can learn from others and how we can be friends with people that before we didn’t think possible.

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

It is not what we do in life so much as how we do it. Nowadays it is easy to believe that to be successful we must have a high flying career or a job that pays mega bucks. This just isn’t so.

To be a truly successful human being we should undertake everything we do with care and passion. In any event, in today’s rapidly changing times, what was once a humble task can soon become one that everyone seeks. So take pride in whatever it is you are called upon to do.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.

Forgiveness is something which a lot of us have trouble really doing.

It’s not about allowing others to do bad things to us and not accepting that their actions have been wrong, but more about loving ourselves enough to move on and not hold onto anger or hatred for others. If we always have one foot in the past we cannot move forward.

King is saying that without true forgiveness in our hearts we cannot fully love, and is also recognizing that there is good and bad in all of us.

Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?

Life is not about only looking out for number one. Sure, we need to care for ourselves so that we can care for others, but the whole meaning of life is to be of service to others in some way. We all need help from time to time and no man (or woman) is an island.

Once we start giving to the world and to others, it’s amazing how happy and contented we can be. Generosity and kindness toward others leads to true abundance.

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.


I love this quote as it is all about hope and doing the right thing regardless. Just because the world is going crazy around us, it doesn’t mean we should not plant our apple trees. If we all thought like this, imagine what a wonderful world it would be.

Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the age of 39. The then US President Lyndon B. Johnson declared April 7 a national day of mourning.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.

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About the author

Eleanor Goold

As well as being an avid reader, Eleanor is also a big time animal lover; especially of dogs. If you have a tail, four legs and you bark…. you’re in! In her spare time she enjoys swimming, and vegetable gardening… but not at the same time (it can get a bit messy).

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