58 Tweetable MLK Quotes to Reclaim King’s Legacy by Drew Dellinger

Frank Castro
Jan 17, 2015 · 6 min read

Use these with the hashtags #MLKalsoSaid & #ReclaimMLK

“All of us are on trial in this troubled hour.”

— MLK (1968)

King on police brutality:

“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” — MLK, Aug. 28, 1963

“The white man does not abide by the law… His police forces are the ultimate mockery of law.” — MLK (1968)

“We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity.” — MLK, Aug. 28, 1963

“We have got to go all out to deal with the question of segregation justice. We still have a long, long, way to go.” — MLK (1965)

“How long will justice be crucified and truth buried, how long?” — MLK (1962)

“Wounded justice lying prostrate on the streets of our cities.” — MLK (1962)

“The beating and killing of our… young people will not divert us. The arrest and release of known murderers will not discourage us.” — MLK

“When we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won’t exploit people … we won’t kill anybody.” — MLK (1968)

“I believe that the dignity & the worth of human personality will be respected one day. I believe this and I live by it.” — MLK (1964)

King on confronting systemic racism:

“The first thing that must be on the agenda of our nation is to get rid of racism.” — MLK (1968)

“The thing wrong with America is white racism.” — Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)

“Large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility & the status quo than about justice & humanity.” — MLK

“However difficult it is to hear, however shocking it is to hear, we’ve got to face the fact that America is a racist country.” — MLK (1968)

“Racism is a philosophy based on contempt for life.” — MLK (1967)

“We must come to see that the roots of racism are very deep in our country.” — MLK

“There must be something positive & massive in order to get rid of all the effects of racism & the tragedies of racial injustice.” — MLK

“White America has allowed itself to be indifferent to race prejudice.” — MLK (1968)

“I am sorry to have to say that the vast majority of white Americans are racists, either consciously or unconsciously.” — MLK (1967)

1/2: “The doctrine of white supremacy was imbedded in every textbook and preached in practically every pulpit…” — MLK

2/2: “… It became a structural part of the culture.” — Martin Luther King Jr. on white supremacy (1967)

“The great majority of Americans… are uneasy with injustice but unwilling yet to pay a significant price to eradicate it.” — MLK

“There aren’t enough white persons in our country who are willing to cherish democratic principles over privilege.” — MLK

King on the importance of direct action and civil disobedience:

“The blanket of fear was lifted by Negro youth. When they took their struggle to the streets a new spirit of resistance was born.” — MLK

“When [Black youth] cheerfully became jailbirds & troublemakers… they challenged & inspired white youth to emulate them.” — MLK

“We have, through massive non-violent action, an opportunity to avoid a national disaster & create a new spirit of class & racial harmony.”

“I’ve just come to a conclusion that our country doesn’t really move on these issues until a movement is mobilized.” — MLK (1968)

“I’m talking about poor people’s power. That is what is needed.” — MLK (1968)

“Every [person] of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits [his or her] convictions, but we must all protest.” — MLK

“There must be more than a statement to the larger society; there must be a force that interrupts its functioning at some key point.” — MLK

“Non-violent protest must now mature to a new level… The higher level is mass civil disobedience.” — MLK (1967)

“Our power lies in our ability to say nonviolently that we aren’t gonna take it any longer.” — MLK (1967)

“I’m worried today when there are those who try to silence dissenters.” — MLK

“We aren’t going to let this attempt to crush dissent turn us around.” — MLK (1968)

“Our experience is that marches must continue over 30–45 days to produce any meaningful results.” — MLK

“I believe in dissent. We must never lose this.” — MLK

“The greatness of our nation — and I don’t want to see us lose it — is that… it does keep alive the opportunity to protest and dissent.” — MLK

King on economic justice and ending poverty

“The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty.” — MLK

1/2: “The nation doesn’t move around questions of genuine equality for the poor and for black people…”

2/2: “… until it is confronted massively, dramatically in terms of direct action.” — MLK

“Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation.” — MLK

“In the final analysis, the rich must not ignore the poor because both rich and poor are tied together.” — MLK

“I choose to identify with the poor…. This is the way I’m going. If it means suffering a little bit, I’m going that way.” — MLK (1966)

“I think it is absolutely necessary now to deal massively and militantly with the economic problem.” — MLK, 10 days before assassination

“I still have to ask, why do you have 40 million people in our society who are poor? I have to ask that question.” — MLK (1966)

“Poverty, the gaps in our society, the gulfs between inordinate superfluous wealth & abject deadening poverty have brought about… despair” — MLK

“There’s going to have to be more sharing in this world.” — MLK (1967)

King on the question of “Riots”

“Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention. There is no other answer.” — MLK (1967)

“Riots are not the causes of white resistance, they are consequences of it.” — MLK(1967)

“There are many persons who wince at a distinction between property & persons — who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid.” — MLK

“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.” — MLK

“It is clear that the riots were exacerbated by police action that was intended to injure or even to kill people.” — MLK (1968)

“Our summers of riots are caused by winters of delay.” — MLK

King on interconnection and linking issues and movements:

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated.” — MLK

“The black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes…” (1/2) — MLK

(2/2) “… It is, rather, forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws: racism, poverty, militarism, and materialism.” — MLK (1968)

“Local problems are all interconnected with world problems.” — MLK (1968)

“I’m still convinced that the struggle for peace and the struggle for justice… happen to be tied together.” — MLK (1968)

“We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” — MLK

Now you have ammo. Seize the moment!

Editor’s Note: These were originally created for MLK Day in coalition with and for the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), a group of concerned and committed institutions, organizations and individuals working to end the state sanctioned murder of Black, Brown & Poor People.

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