Dreamweaver: The Militant Martin

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Just because Dr. King was an active proponent of nonviolent protest does not mean he didn’t have a revolutionary spirit. Most of us are more familiar with the hopefulness exhibited in the I Have A Dream and Mountaintop speeches, but King’s views on social justice were much more complex. On this day, and particularly in the current sociopolitical climate in America, here are some quotes that display that spirit:

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.

The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be… The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

A right delayed is a right denied.

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

The sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.

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

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.

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.

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

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

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

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

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 limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.

Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.

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.

A riot is the language of the unheard.

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.

Pity may represent little more than the impersonal concern which prompts the mailing of a check, but true sympathy is the personal concern which demands the giving of one’s soul.

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.

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Big thanks to Brainy Quote for this compilation of quotes. You can also find more of the revolutionary King quotes here in this repost on my Tumblr page.

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Do some good today…and if you haven’t already, go see Selma.

Props to Google today for today’s doodle.

SelmaDoodleSnip

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