Today the words in Dr. King’s famous 1963 I Have a Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial will be repeated infinite number of times, but some of his other immemorable and prophetic words form a clearer portrait that stands even now.
- Being a Negro in America means trying to smile when you want to cry. It means trying to hold onto physical life amid psychological death. It means the pain of watching your children grow up with clouds of inferiority in their mental skies. It means having your legs cut off and then being condemned for being a cripple. It means seeing your mother and father spiritually murdered by the slings and arrows of daily exploitation and then hated for being an orphan.
- Nonviolence means you not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
- Never forget that everything Hitler did was legal.
- The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority
- Love provides a moral horizon for power. Power without love is reckless and love without power is anemic. When love is joined with power, they demand justice. Love, Justice and power demand, “America, you must be born again. That is the whole structure must be changed.
- When in future generation men look back upon these turbulent, tension packed days through which we are passing, they will see God working through history for the salvation of man. God is able to conquer the evils of history.
- The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only with his soul, but also his body, not only his spiritual wellbeing but also his material well-being. A religion that professed a concern about the souls of men and is not equally concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion.
- We Know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. For years I have heard the word, “wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘wait has almost meant “Never.”
- I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. (spoken on April 3, 1968) the night before he was assassinated in Memphis.