Quotation #4075

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an icon in American history who was instrumental in expanding the rights of African Americans through the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s. The legacy of this incredibly influential civil rights leader and minister lives on through his brave actions, as well as his eloquent and inspirational words. Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech is widely considered the top American speech of the 20th century, and many other inspirational words of MLK are frequently quoted due to their wisdom and continued relevance in today's world. Read on for some of the most inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes and their interpretations. [include-posts id="4220" count="1"] Interpretation: Having faith (belief/trust) means being brave enough to start on a path when you don’t know with certainty where it will lead. For example, you might marry someone who you have faith in, even though there is no guarantee that they won’t break your heart years later. This kind of faith involves taking a risk and surrendering control. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="993" count="2"] Interpretation: Only love can defeat hate, the same way that only light can defeat darkness. You can’t fight negativity with more negativity; you must fight negativity with positivity. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4223" count="3"] Interpretation: It is better to love than to hate, if for the only reason that hate is detrimental to the person who hates, as it encumbers you and weighs you down. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4129" count="4"] Interpretation: Your highest values — the ideas, beliefs, or people for which you would literally give up your own life — are what give meaning to your life. If you would not die for anything or anybody, then your life is essentially meaningless. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4229" count="5"] Interpretation: Something very powerful can emerge, seemingly out of nowhere, and shock the world. However, these powerful things have actually been brewing for some time. Dr. King used this metaphor to describe the civil rights movement. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4233" count="6"] Interpretation: No matter how you do it, you need to make progress in life. Don’t let your limitations hold you back; there is always some means of advancement, no matter how slow. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4238" count="7"] Interpretation: Religion and science need not be rivals; they can peacefully coexist. Science provides factual knowledge, while religion provides meaning. Both are important. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="131" count="8"] Interpretation: All communities are interrelated, and thus, no single injustice, such as racist policies in one region of a country, can be overlooked without directly or indirectly affecting society at large. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4241" count="9"] Interpretation: The aim of a true, or genuine, education is to develop the student’s intellect, while also developing the student’s moral fiber, or character. By specifying that this is the goal of “true” education, it is implied that there are other, false educational systems that lack at least one of these essential elements. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4245" count="10"] Interpretation: Humankind’s scientific advancement has outpaced our spiritual advancement, to the point that we have very powerful weapons that we are not responsible enough to be entrusted with. Thus, we are greatly in need of moral leadership. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4250" count="11"] Interpretation: If those who are oppressed wait passively for their oppressor to free them, they will never be free. Therefore, it is necessary that the oppressed actively demand their freedom. Specifically, Dr. King was talking about the subjugation of African Americans. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4253" count="12"] Interpretation: In this line from his most famous speech, Dr. King conveys his hope that by the time his children come of age, society will have changed so that his children (and people in general) will not be discriminated against because of their race. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4257" count="13"] Interpretation: Emotions cannot be legislated; however, behavior can. It is essential that we have laws to stop people from committing certain behaviors, including murder. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4262" count="14"] Interpretation: When you’re in a struggle, the blows from your opponent are not as painful as the fact that your friends are not helping you fight. After the fight is over and all is said and done, the inaction of your friends will stick in your mind more so than the attacks of your foes. This can be applied on a societal level as well. For example, history remembers with great disdain those who stood by silently and let the Holocaust happen, even though they had the power to help stop it. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4266" count="15"] Interpretation: At some point in your life, you will be forced to make a difficult decision between what’s socially acceptable and what’s morally right. When this happens, you must follow your conscience and do what’s right. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4270" count="16"] Interpretation: Whatever your job/calling in life is, no matter how seemingly trivial or unglamorous, you should do it to the absolute best of your ability. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4276" count="17"] Interpretation: The definitive test of a person is how they behave during difficult times, when they must take a stand for what’s right, even if the right thing is not the popular thing. It is harder to judge a person’s character when they have an easy, comfortable life. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4281" count="18"] Interpretation: God is pleased when you celebrate or experience joy. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4284" count="19"] Interpretation: Waging war is not an effective way to bring about peace. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4287" count="20"] Interpretation: We have to learn how to get along with each other and live together in harmony, as one human family. To behave in any other fashion is foolish; if we can’t learn to live peacefully together then we will all die together. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4289" count="21"] Interpretation: Whereas hatred causes paralysis, confusion, and darkness, love is mobilizing, harmonizing, and illuminating. In other words, love is the antidote to hate. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4293" count="22"] Interpretation: We should not try to hide behind the law; just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. To illuminate this point, Dr. King uses the example of Hitler, who murdered millions of innocent people. Hitler’s actions were “legal” under his rule in Germany, but it is clear to see that these actions were nevertheless wrong. So, too, may there be policies in our society that are legal, but morally reprehensible. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4298" count="23"] Interpretation: Telling someone that they will have a right in the future, but not now, is just another way of denying them that right. In order for there to be justice, we must demand equal rights today. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4301" count="24"] Interpretation: We must endure and acknowledge the disappointing things that happen in our lives. At the same time, we must never give up hope that things will get better. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4305" count="25"] Interpretation: People can only endure so much oppression, humiliation, and despair. At a certain point, the oppressed group will get fed up with being excluded from the world of the non-oppressed, and will demand a change. [/include-posts] [include-posts id="4308" count="26"] Interpretation: Only during the darkest times (the most difficult circumstances) can we truly see the brightest parts of life, even though, like stars, those bright spots have been there all along. Depending on your perspective, those bright spots could represent hope, God, love, the valuable people in one’s life, or any other positive aspect. [/include-posts]
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