Martin Luther King Jr. would be ninety-two on January 15th, 2021. Let’s just say that again, Martin Luther King Jr. would be ninety-two. Usually when I write these articles concerning the anniversaries of birthdays, those whose birthday it would be, would be celebrating a much higher number. I’ve written plenty of articles in which the person would be turning some crazy number, such as 128 years old. However, when I did the math of how old Martin Luther King Jr. would be, it actually made me sad. Such a wonderful man he was, yet he could still be with us if his life were not cut short. It’s not right to think that way, because the past cannot be changed, but I can’t help it. He was thirty-nine when he was killed.
Astonishingly, that would be all the time he needed to make an incredible impact on the world. Children will continue to learn his name in school, textbooks will forever mention his leadership in the Civil Rights Movement, and everyone will continue to be able to learn from his ever-applicable life lessons. In honor of this wonderful man, here are fifteen of his quotes that are eye-opening, inspirational, and flat-out true:
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.
Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.
The time is always right to do what is right.
History will have to record the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.
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.
A lie cannot live.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.
The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.
Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and enables the man who wields it.
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.
We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now because I’ve been to the mountaintop… I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.