30 quotes from the civil rights leader who in­spired the world

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIO­NAL -

Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Pre­cious Lord’. Play it real pretty,” are said to be the last words of Rev­erend Martin Luther King Jr, just be­fore he stepped out onto a bal­cony in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee where a gun­man shot him a sin­gle time, end­ing his life half a cen­tury ago.

That gun­shot 51 years ago put an end to the life of a man who is one of the most revered fig­ures in Amer­i­can his­tory— not to men­tion one of the most quotable in­di­vid­u­als with a per­sis­tent rel­e­vance to the con­di­tion of the coun­try and its peo­ple. The an­niver­sary of the as­sas­si­na­tion of Martin Luther King Jr was on 4 April 1968. Be­fore King made that plea for the sounds of beauty to Ben Branch, a mu­si­cian sched­uled to play at a planned event that evening in Mem­phis, he was known for us­ing his words to in­spire a gen­er­a­tion to peace­ful ac­tion in the fight for civil rights. Here is the late rev­erend, in his own words.

1. “I have de­cided to stick with love. Hate is too great a bur­den to bear”

2. “Dark­ness can­not drive

out dark­ness; only light can do that. Hate can­not drive out hate; only love can do that.”

3. “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.

4. “In­jus­tice any­where is a threat to jus­tice ev­ery­where.”

5. “Our lives be­gin to end the day we be­come silent about things that mat­ter.”

6. “The time is al­ways right to do what is right.”

7. “In the end, we will re­mem­ber not the words of our en­e­mies, but the si­lence of our friends.”

8. “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.”

9. “Life’s most per­sis­tent and ur­gent ques­tion is, ‘What are you do­ing for oth­ers?’”

10. “Faith is tak­ing the first step even when you don’t see the whole stair­case.”

11. “Non­vi­o­lence is a pow­er­ful and just weapon. In­deed, it is a weapon unique in his­tory, which cuts with­out wound­ing and en­no­bles the man who wields it.”

12. “I be­lieve that un­armed truth and un­con­di­tional love will have the fi­nal word in re­al­ity. This is why right, tem­po­rar­ily de­feated, is stronger than evil tri­umphant.”

13. “Noth­ing in all the world is more dan­ger­ous than sin­cere ig­no­rance and con­sci­en­tious stu­pid­ity.”

14. “Our sci­en­tific power has out­run our spir­i­tual power. We have guided mis­siles and mis­guided men.”

15. “Al­most al­ways, the cre­ative ded­i­cated mi­nor­ity has made the world bet­ter.”

16. “There is noth­ing more tragic than to find an in­di­vid­ual bogged down in the length of life, de­void of breath.”

17. “Man must evolve for all hu­man con­flict a method which re­jects re­venge, ag­gres­sion, and re­tal­i­a­tion. The foun­da­tion of such a method is love.”

18. “It may be true that the law can­not make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynch­ing me, and I think that’s pretty im­por­tant.”

19. “All labour that up­lifts hu­man­ity has dig­nity and im­por­tance and should be un­der­taken with painstak­ing ex­cel­lence.”

20. “It is in­con­testable and de­plorable that Ne­groes have com­mit­ted crimes; but they are deriva­tive crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of white so­ci­ety.”

21. “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”

22. “The first ques­tion which the priest and the Le­vite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will hap­pen to me?’ But, the Good Sa­mar­i­tan re­versed the ques­tion: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will hap­pen to him?”

23. “If I wish to com­pose or write or pray or preach well, I must be an­gry. Then all the blood in my veins is stirred, and my un­der­stand­ing is sharp­ened.”

24. “A right de­layed is a right de­nied.”

25. “I have a dream that my four lit­tle chil­dren will one day live in a na­tion where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the con­tent of their char­ac­ter.”

26. “The Ne­gro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the Ne­gro to free him from his guilt.”

27. “Wars are poor chis­els for carv­ing out peace­ful to­mor­rows.”

28. “A gen­uine leader is not a searcher for con­sen­sus but a moul­der of con­sen­sus.”

29. “A riot is the lan­guage of the un­heard.”

30. “He who pas­sively ac­cepts evil is as much in­volved in it as he who helps to per­pe­trate it. He who ac­cepts evil with­out protest­ing against it is re­ally co­op­er­at­ing with it.”

The an­niver­sary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death was April 4.

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