Several years ago during a trip to San Francisco, I visited the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial,Revelations, in the Yerba Buena Gardens. Housed behind a 20 foot high and fifty foot wide waterfall, visitors are drawn through glass panels that feature MLK’s inspirational quotes-in 13 different languages! It was a moving way to spend a peaceful hour in the middle of a bustling city. Please seek it out next time you’re in San Francisco. Details here: YerbaBuenaGardens.org.
In honor of one of America’s greatest, here are a few of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quotes:
- If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you to go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream.
- I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and is willing to accept the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
- And so we shall have to do more than register and more than vote; we shall have to create leaders who embody virtues we can respect, who have moral and ethical principles we can applaud with enthusiasm.
- We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.
- It must be emphasized that nonviolent resistance is not a method for cowards; it does resist. If one uses this method because he is afraid or merely because he lacks the instruments of violence, he is not truly nonviolent. This is why Gandhi often said that if cowardice is the only alternative to violence, it is better to fight. .
- The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
- The poor in our countries have been shut out of our minds and driven from the mainstream of our societies, because we have allowed them to become invisible.
- The conservatives who say, “Let us not move so fast,” and the extremists who say, “Let us go out and whip the world,” would tell you that they are as far apart as the poles. But there is a striking parallel: They accomplish nothing; for they do not reach the people who have a crying need to be free.
- Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
- The time is always right to do what is right.
Photo credit: By Sebastian Wallroth (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Yoichi Okamoto [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,By O. Fernandez, New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons