5 Favorite MLK Quotes

Today is a good day. A day when we honor a good man—Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

I don’t want to pretend that I truly understand what it’s like to be black in America. As a white guy, no way, no how do I fully understand. I’ll never be able to. But I can listen, I can acknowledge, I can try to empathize as much as possible, I can donate, and I can help in other ways.

I have no standing to preach to anyone about anything. I’m just trying to navigate my way through life like everyone else. And like everyone else, I’ve heard dozens, if not hundreds, of quotes from MLK over the years, and I’ve seen the documentaries and the video clips. All I want to do today is list the 5 quotes from Dr King that resonate most with me, without any commentary, because the quotes stand by themselves and don’t require anything more. After all, the most inspirational quote I’ve ever come up with is “Mabel! Don’t eat that!”

#5 On Doing the Right Thing

“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.”

#4 On Selflessness

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

#3 On Education

“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.”

#2 On Racism

“We must face the hard fact that many Americans would like to have a nation which is a democracy for white Americans but simultaneously a dictatorship over black Americans.”

#1 On Love

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

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