Today, Monday, January 21, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day of remembrance marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. Established in 1983, “MLK DAY” is observed on the third Monday of January each year.
And while Martin Luther King Jr. is deservedly well known for his “I Have A Dream” speech, the fact is that the revolutionary Baptist minister and activist had a catalog of excellent quotes that most people have never heard of.
In honor of MLK Day 2019 — the 36th Martin Luther King Jr. day — we’ve decided to pull the top seven most unheard, underused, and underrated Martin Luther King Jr. quotes of all-time.
On America’s Military Spending
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” — from “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos of Community?” in 1967.
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” — from “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in 1963.
On Saving Our Society From Violence
“We must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.” — from “Eulogy for the Martyred Children” in 1963.
On Being Charitable
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” — from “Beyond Vietnam” in 1967.
On American Extremism
“The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?” — from “Letter From Birmingham City Jail” in 1963.
On Our Societal Morals:
“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” from “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam” in 1967.
On Western Arrogance:
“The Western arrogance or feeling that is has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.” — from “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam” in 1967.