35+ Powerful Martin Luther King Jr Quotes on Love, Peace & Activism

One of the greatest Americans by any measure, MLK sure had plenty of important words on society, social justice, and racial inequality. Here are the best Martin Luther King Jr quotes to know!

Martin Luther King, Jr. hardly needs any introduction.

An American Baptist minister from the southern United States, he became the most influential and prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Through his belief in and practice of nonviolent protest while advocating for racial equality, he would receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Four years later, he was assassinated in Memphis, TN.

Of course, that’s just the bare minimum when it comes to the indelible mark he left on society, discourse, and thought, both in the United States and around the world.

In this post, we’d like to highlight some of the most powerful Martin Luther King Jr quotes ever spoken or written down. These MLK quotes on racial equality, peace, activism, love, justice, and overcoming challenges are sure to inspire you, as they’ve done for millions of people so far, and as they will continue to inspire millions more in the future.

Continue below to read these powerful quotes from Martin Luther King Jr!


download the goodwall app image 3

Want to Stay Inspired Each Day?

Sign up to Goodwall!

  • Connect with like-minded people from 150+ countries
  • Post accomplishments and get encouraging feedback
  • Find support when you’re in a rut

Download the app now to get started for FREE!


Here are some of the most powerful Martin Luther King Jr quotes ever spoken:

Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

You will change your mind; You will change your looks; You will change your smile, laugh, and ways but no matter what you change, you will always be you.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

No person has the right to rain on your dreams.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Related Read: 25+ Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes on Equality, Change & the Rule of Law

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Only in the darkness can you see the stars.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Related Read: 50+ Great Maya Angelou Quotes to Inspire, Empower, and Encourage

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.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Related Read: 111+ Best Leadership Quotes: Great Sayings by the World’s Top Leaders

A riot is the language of the unheard.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Related Read: Here’s How to Support Black Lives Matter (5 Simple but Effective Actions)

We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The time is always right to do what is right.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Related Read: 25 Small Acts You Can Do to Have a Great Impact

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.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Related Read: 25+ Best History Books of All Time for a Solid Understanding of Our World

What did you think of the Martin Luther King Jr quotes we’ve listed above? If you have any questions, feedback, or other important MLK quotes we ought to add to this post, let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Download our app today!

If you want more stories like this, a dose of inspiration, an awesome support network, and a place to share ideas and achievements, the Goodwall app has it all and more.
Download Goodwall from the iOS App Store Download Goodwall from the Google Play Store
Christian Eilers
Written By Christian Eilers
is a writer and expert on the topics of education, entrepreneurship, career advice, travel, and culture. On the Goodwall Blog, he covers topics including self-improvement, social impact, college preparation, career development, climate action, and more. Christian is originally from New York City and now resides in Kyiv, Ukraine after living in Warsaw, Poland for the past 4 years. At his desk, you're sure to find Pickwick, his Devon Rex cat, either attacking his fingers as he types or the monitor as the mouse pointer moves around.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *