Tomorrow marks the fifty year anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s momentous "I Have A Dream" speech demanding an end to racism in America. Made from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during 1963's March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, to an audience of over 250,000 civil rights supporters, the speech was one of the most pivotal moments of the American Civil Rights Movement.
It was towards the end of his gripping oration that King decided to deviate from his prepared text and deliver the passionate, partly improvised peroration listing his now-iconic set of dreams for the republic. The impact of this was earth-shattering – as Jon Meacham writes, "With a single phrase, Martin Luther King, Jr. joined Jefferson and Lincoln in the ranks of men who've shaped modern America." The following year King won the Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest man ever to do so, at the age of 35.
Here to celebrate King and his oratorical gift, we present our top ten Martin Luther King quotes.
1) "I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream – one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, 'We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal.'"
2) “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools”
3) “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscious stupidity.”
4) “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
5) “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
6) “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
7) “We are not makers of history, we are made by history.”
8) “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.”
9) “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
10) “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
Text by Daisy Woodward
Research by India van Spall