In The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

In The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Black history is American history.  February is Black History Month, during which we recognize some of the African Americans who have influenced, improved and shaped our country.  It also follows the month in which we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday with a federal holiday in his honor.  Among Dr. King’s accomplishments to the nation was leading a non-violent civil rights movement from 1954 until his assassination in 1968.  Fifty years after his death, many of the things he said are timely today.  Here are some quotations from Dr. King:

“We must meet hate with love.  We must meet physical force with soul force.  There is still a voice crying out through the vista of time saying: ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.’”    

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

“We must act in such a way as to make possible a coming together of white people and colored people on the basis of a real harmony of interest and understanding.  We must seek an integration based on mutual respect.”

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

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

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

“When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems.  Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love.”

“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”

The final quote above is on the wall of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., part of a tribute to a national leader who sought to appeal to the best that is in all of us.  It is truly a message of hope, one that will outlive the discord of our present times.


Black history is American history.  February is Black History Month, during which we recognize some of the African Americans who have influenced, improved and shaped our country.