Top 16 Most Powerful Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

Here's What We Can Learn About Leadership from MLK

in Jan 20, 2020

Martin Luther King Jr. was a groundbreaking advocate for civil rights in the United States. Having experienced racism from an early age, those events fueled his beliefs and brought him to become one of the greatest advocates in American history. MLK dreamed that all people that lived in the United States would be judged by their personal qualities and not by the color of their skin.

Martin Luther King Jr. "I have a dream"

Martin Luther King Jr. Was a Leader for Civil Rights

After earning his doctorate degree in theology, Dr. King became a pastor in Alabama, where he spoke about the importance of equal rights, lead many peaceful protests, and eventually changed multiple laws supporting the equality of African Americans. Dr. King gave hundreds of moving speeches across the country, his most famous being the I Have a Dream speech on August 28, 1963 in Washington DC which gathered over 250,000 demonstrators marching to the Lincoln Memorial. The following year, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act prohibiting all racial discrimination in the United States, a monumental moment for equality in the United States. His willingness to stand up for what he knew was right is what made him one of the greatest leaders in American history, and what earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

On April 4th, 1968,  Dr. King was shot and killed while in Memphis, Tennessee. Although MLK’s life ended that day, the work he did and the people he inspired continued on his great work and continued to change the nation. Today, he is still an inspiration not only for the work he did but the words he spoke. The following are our favorite 16 Martin Luther King Jr. quotes that keep us motivated and remind us to continue leading in our journey.   

Top 16 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

  1. “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”
  2. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; Only love can do that.”
  3. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
  4. “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.”
  5. “We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
  6. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  7. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
  8. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
  9. “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.”
  10. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”
  11. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
  12. “That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”
  13. “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.”
  14. “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
  15. “I came to the conclusion that there is an existential moment in your life when you must decide to speak for yourself; nobody else can speak for you.”
  16. “I want to suggest some of the things that should begin your life’s blueprint. Number one should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth. And, always feel that your life has ultimate significance.”
David Jefferson
Event Services Coordinator at

David leads script development, storytelling, and stage management at TEAMTRI. He hails from the great state of Georgia where the peaches are sweet, and the southern hospitality is even sweeter! Two of his favorite things are bow ties and Beyoncé; he is a dedicated member of the Beyhive! He is currently living the big city life in San Francisco, California, where he is pursuing his master’s degree in Urban and Public Affairs at the University of San Francisco.

Cody Hays
Senior Digital Strategist at | + posts

Cody is the Digital Strategist for TEAMTRI based in Seattle, Washington. He's an avid chai tea latte drinker and enjoys painting, traveling, and taking photos of his adventures. At work, you'll find him typing away building websites, creating marketing strategies, and scrolling through Instagram.