A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.
Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?
Expediency asks the question, is it politic?
Vanity asks the question, is it popular?
But conscience asks the question, is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position
that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular,
but one must take it because it is right.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
I firmly believe that the Gandhian philosophy of nonviolent resistance is the only logical and moral approach to the solution of the race problem in the United States.
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.' ... I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day ... the sons of former slave owners
will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust ... is in reality expressing the highest respect for law ... We will not obey your evil laws.
The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.
The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.
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.
There comes a time when a moral man can't obey a law which his conscience tells him is unjust.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.”
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
It is precisely because education is the road to equality and citizenship, that it has been made more elusive for Negroes than many other rights. The walling off of Negroes from equal education is part of the historical design to submerge him in second class status. Therefore, as Negroes have struggled to be free they have had to fight for the opportunity for a decent education.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it.