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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.
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.
There comes a time when a moral man can't obey a law which his conscience tells him is unjust.
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.
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.
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.
In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law ... That would lead to anarchy. An individual who breaks a law that his conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and consciencious stupidity.