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Beyond ‘I Have a Dream:’ 9 Stirring Martin Luther King Quotes

On Martin Luther King Day, we remember some of his most powerful words


Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in honor of the man who led nonviolent protests during the Civil Rights Movement. If you grew up during the 1960s, you likely have vivid memories of King’s transformative work. Or perhaps you’ve seen modern portrayals of King, such as in the film Selma, about the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., which led to equal voting rights for African-Americans.

What was apparent to King’s followers then remains true today: His commitment to nonviolent resistance along with his gift for powerful, eloquent speaking enabled him to stir people to action. His “I Have a Dream” speech is his best known and most studied, of course. But King also delivered other inspiring messages. Here are nine inspiring quotes from Dr. King that bear repeating.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend."

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

"The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important."

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?’

"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."

"Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see."

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