You must be willing to suffer the anger of the opponent, and yet not return anger. No matter how emotional your opponents are, you must remain calm.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom, 1958
I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.
Martin Luther King, Jr., “The American Dream” speech given at Lincoln University, Oxford, Penn. June 6, 1961
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Death of Evil upon the Seashore,’ sermon given at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City, 17 May 1956
When a people are mired in oppression, they realize deliverance only when they have accumulated the power to enforce change.
Martin Luther King, Jr., in “Martin Luther King Defines Black Power,” New York Times Magazine, June 11, 1967
The choice is no longer between violence and nonviolence; it is either nonviolence and nonexistence.
Martin Luther King, Jr., “The American Dream,” speech given at Lincoln University, Oxford, Penn., June 6, 1961
We have developed an underclass in this nation. And unless this underclass is made a working class, we are going to continue to have problems.
Martin Luther King, Jr., speech given at Poor People’s Campaign, Memphis, Tennessee, March 1968
Man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1965
Structures of evil do not crumble by passive waiting. If history teaches anything, it is that evil is recalcitrant and determined, and never voluntarily relinquishes its hold short of an almost fanatical resistance.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here? 1968
Our freedom was not won a century ago, and it is not won today; but some small part of it is in our hands, and we are marching no longer by ones and twos but in legions of thousands, convinced it cannot be denied by any human force.
Martin Luther King, Jr. c. 1967