My Favorite Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Quotes
Every year for as long as I was a teacher, quotes would be posted all over my classroom during this time of year especially but all year as well. I would ask students to think about the quote and to talk about what Dr. King was saying within the given context or circumstances. I think many of my students were inspired and it was amazing to me what they said sometimes.
Every time one or two students would challenge me and ask me tough questions as well. Many times students would express disappointment and despair because they felt that nothing had really changed as a result of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s dream. Many were pessimistic and I could not blame them. I tried very hard to convince them that they were the change.
I hope that some of them remember how much I believed in the dream. I like to think that I planted a seed in their hearts and brains. As I thought about my former students today, I found myself writing a poem for them. The celebration would not be complete if I would not post some of my favorite quotes.
Here is the poem:
I woke up from a real deep sleep
the warmth of the sun on my face
a promise for a better human race
was a part of my dream
I fell asleep again
to witness history
a token for our collective memory
We walked together side by side
Hand in hand with so much pride
The whole world knew Dr. King had died
His widow and small children
Lead the way
They still stand tall today
King eulogized himself that day
His last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church
the famous ‘Drum Major’ sermon,
he’d given on February 4, 1968.
I will never forget the date.
Sadness spread throughout the land
for the Peace Prize Winner and Holy man
we could not help but to remember
the dream he had for us all.
John Lewis, Jesse Jackson and
Andrew Young would remain
To follow in his footsteps
To ensure his dream comes true
His distinct voice stronger than ever
grew in their heads.
His last speech echoed
And repeated like a refrain
“I don’t know what will happen now;
we’ve got some difficult days ahead.
But it really doesn’t matter to with me now,
because I’ve been to the mountaintop…
I’ve seen the Promised Land.
I may not get there with you.
I’m not worried about anything;
I’m not fearing any man.
Mine eyes have seen the glory
of the coming of the Lord.”
In the dream I saw your faces
(My students of yesteryear)
Pop up before me from different spaces
and as your teacher, I tell you now
Do not let the dream fall down
Keep it alive!
Keep it alive with your actions and deeds.
To my students: I wish you all God’s speed.
My Favorite Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Quotes
“I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up against our most bitter opponents and say: We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you…. But be assured that we’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.”
“Violence never really deals with the basic evil of the situation. Violence may murder the murderer, but it doesn’t murder murder. Violence may murder the liar, but it doesn’t murder lie; it doesn’t establish truth. Violence may even murder the dishonest man, but it doesn’t murder dishonesty. Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it doesn’t murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere. This is the ultimate weakness of violence: It multiplies evil and violence in the universe. It doesn’t solve any problems.”
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
”I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.”
“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness.”