While Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday was actually on January 15th, the official observance and federal holiday is today. Regardless of which day you choose to celebrate this great man, it’s a time to consider the remarkably powerful impact he had on the course of our nation’s history.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a brilliant man who enrolled at Morehouse College when he was just 15 (he earned his bachelor’s degree when he was 19). As a key civil rights leader, he was a target for those who wanted to silence his voice for equality. His home was bombed in 1956 and he narrowly avoided death when he was stabbed in 1958 –10 years before he was assassinated in 1968 by James Earl Ray.
Here are 19 powerfully inspiring quotes from this powerfully inspiring man.
1. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
2. “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
3. “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.”
4. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
5. “The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.”
6. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”
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. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
9. “We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.”
10. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
11. “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
12. “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
13. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
14. “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is most important.”
15. “A lie cannot live.”
16. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
17. “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”
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. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”