So little has changed ... and the struggle continues.
Today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day where we celebrate the life and work of one of the greatest Americans who ever lived. However, as we reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, it’s important that we remember the man honestly.
Because there’s a tendency for Americans to mythologize Dr. King. We see the statues, we hear the recordings of his “I Have a Dream” speech, and we remember his empathetic devotion to nonviolent protest in the wrong ways.
Yes, the man was compassionate and patient, but he wasn’t polite. He wasn’t a push-over.
Dr. King probably had more in common with today’s Black Lives Matter movement than most of white America would be comfortable admitting.
He didn’t just preach love, he preached equality. And you can’t truly work toward achieving equality without bluntly calling out all of the inequalities in the world. This is a man who once said “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”
For example, Dr. King was an adamant anti-war protestor (particularly related to the Vietnam conflict), declaring that, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
That stance didn’t make him particularly popular with the mainstream media at the time and neither did his frank comments about racial and economic inequality in the United States.
While it’s important to remember Dr. King’s message of peace and love, it’s equally important to remember that he was also a political radical who, through his rhetoric and protests, brought about more positive social change than almost any other figure in U.S. history.
Dr. King was such an amazing speaker that the best way to remember him is often through his own words. With that in mind, here are 20 Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes that should remind us all that he was an expert at speaking truth to power.
He was not a man who just wanted us all to get along. He was a visionary who was willing to knock down barriers to bring fairness and equity to all Americans.
If you're searching for the best quotes and memes to share with the people you love (or just want to feel inspired yourself) ... look no further! From the sweetest love quotes, inspirational sayings, and hilarious friendship truths, we've got you covered.
And what is it America has failed to hear?...It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity. — Martin Luther King Jr.
Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to re-educate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn. The reality of substantial investment to assist Negroes into the twentieth century, adjusting to Negro neighbors and genuine school integration, is still a nightmare for all too many white Americans. — Martin Luther King Jr.
Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. — Martin Luther King Jr.
Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionary and see the synonyms of the word “black.” It’s always something degrading, low, and sinister. Look at the word “white.” It’s always something pure, high, clean. Well, I wanna get the language right tonight. I wanna get the language right so that everybody here will cry out “Yes I’m black! I’m proud of it! I’m black and beautiful!” — Martin Luther King Jr.
The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. — Martin Luther King Jr.
We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. — Martin Luther King Jr.
However difficult it is to hear, however shocking it is to hear, we’ve got to face the fact that America is a racist country. — Martin Luther King Jr.
There aren't enough white persons in our country who are willing to cherish democratic principles over privilege. — Martin Luther King Jr.
Riots are not the causes of white resistance, they are consequences of it. — Martin Luther King Jr.
One has the moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. — Martin Luther King Jr.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. — Martin Luther King Jr.
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important. — Martin Luther King Jr.
A riot is the language of the unheard. — Martin Luther King Jr.
It is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of life for the vast majority of white Americans, spoken and unspoken, acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle. — Martin Luther King Jr.
White Americans must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society. The comfortable, entrenched, the privileged cannot continue to tremble at the prospect of change of the status quo. — Martin Luther King Jr.
True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. — Martin Luther King Jr.
Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice but tolerated or ignored economic injustice. — Martin Luther King Jr.
The majority of white Americans consider themselves sincerely committed to justice for the Negro. They believe that American society is essentially hospitable to fair play and to steady growth toward a middle-class Utopia embodying racial harmony. But unfortunately this is a fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity. — Martin Luther King Jr.
Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? — Martin Luther King Jr.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. — Martin Luther King Jr.