MLK Day 2024: 10 timeless Martin Luther King Jr. quotes to honor civil rights icon

Dr Martin Luther King Jr speaking before crowd of 25,000 Selma To Montgomery, Alabama civil rights marchers, in front of Montgomery, Alabama state capital building. On March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Image

More than a half century after his death, Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and written words continue to inspire people around the world.

The reverend and civil rights icon would have turned 95 on Monday, Jan. 15, which this year falls on Martin Luther King Day.

King’s "I Have A Dream" speech is one of American history’s most famous orations and most influential addresses of our time. Delivered at the March on Washington in 1963, the speech is ranked No. 6 on the Emmys’ list of 75 most iconic moments in TV history.

At 35 years old, King’s philosophy, courage and oratory made him the youngest man ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. 

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10 inspiring quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.

In honor of the reverend and Martin Luther King Day, here are some of his most inspirational quotes:


American Civil Rights and religious leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr gestures emphatically during a speech at a Chicago Freedom Movement rally in Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, July 10, 1966. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

"We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
-Washington National Cathedral speech, March 31, 1968.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
-Excerpt from his 1963 book, "Strength to Love."

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
-From his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963.


Close-up of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shown in this photo in 1966 (Getty Images)

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
-Excerpt from his 1963 book, "Strength to Love."

"I have decided to stick with love. . . . Hate is too great a burden to bear."
-From his "Where Do We Go From Here?" address at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, 1967

"We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right."
-From his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," 1963.

"If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving."
-From a speech at Spelman College, 1960.


After Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was freed from jail (under a $2000 appeal bond) he was greeted by his wife Coretta and children, Martin and Yolanda, at the airport in Chamblee, Georgia, October 27, 1960 (Getty Images)

"True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice."
-From "StrideToward Freedom: The Montgomery Story," 1958.

"Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope."
-From his "I Have a Dream" speech, August 28, 1963

"The time is always right to do what is right."
-From his Oberlin College commencement speech, 1965