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MLK’s Top Five Quotes

Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man, and there’s no better way to honor him this MLK Day than to know at least five things he’s said.

It’s difficult for me to write this introduction because everyone already knows who Martin Luther King Jr. is. If you were born after 1980, you probably learned about him in school or on the celebration of MLK Day. If you were born before 1980, you probably heard about him on the news. In either case, I think it’s best to let him speak for himself, so here are what I consider to be his top five quotes.

5. I Have a Dream…

I know it’s a bit cliche, but it wouldn’t be a list of MLK’s best quotes if we didn’t have his famous “I have a dream…” quote. In this quote, MLK talks about his dream for the future, the light at the end of the tunnel, the goal that he strives for. He wants a world in which his children are guaranteed the same rights as white children.

While you could argue that it should be higher on this list, I just find that it shows up a little too often. It’s like how when you think of Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, you don’t think about the quality of the song, you think of some poor retail worker going insane after hearing it a hundred times per shift. For this reason, I’m putting it at number 5.

4. I Have a Dream…

Next up, we have MLK’s most famous quote: “I have a dream…” This quote describes a better world while leaving out any of the details on how to achieve it or the specific ways in which the current world doesn’t live up to this dream. By stripping it of this context, this quote becomes incredibly useful. Since this is one of the only MLK quotes people know about, a lot of people think MLK’s ideology consists of just this quote. If you can convince your audience that this quote agrees with your ideology, then they’ll believe MLK would agree with your ideology. Anyone who opposes your ideology would then be the real racist.

3. I Have a Dream…

Although MLK ended racism back in the 70s, it resurrected in a new form. Unlike the the racism of a past so long ago that its effects in the modern day are negligble, these new strains of racism continue to target white people, with the worst form being affirmative action. If all you know of MLK is this quote, you would think MLK would have been entirely opposed to any kind of affirmative action. Doing so would be judging people based on the color of their skin instead of the content of their character, which is the one and only thing MLK definitely did not want to happen (see quote).

2. I Have a Dream…

As renowned MLK scholar Ron Desantis points out in his justification for the Stop W.O.K.E. Act, MLK would oppose white children being taught “there are systemic injustices in American society and [we] need to address them” because there was nothing MLK cared about more than the feelings of middle class white moderates.

Instead, we should teach students about how MLK had a dream that ended racism definitely by the 80s, over and over, until they grow weary of him and wary of his successors.

1. I Have a Dream…

I mean, what did you expect? “I have a dream…” had to be the number one quote. Can anyone name another quote that could have taken the number one spot? Seriously, can anyone name anything else MLK said off the top of their head?

Obviously not, because MLK said exactly one thing and one thing only. He had a dream and it will remain just a dream as long as “I have a dream…” is all we know him by.

Turning it Back to You

These were my top five MLK Jr. quotes, but I’d be interested in hearing your favorites in a response down below. Again, if you can even name any other quotes, it’s probably best to post quotes that are generic enough to show up in one of the Transformers movies or an article on web design. I’d also recommend against posting any quotes that go on for more than a few dozen words, as those might incite people to action.



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Joseph Mellor

BS in Physics, Math, and CS with a minor in High-Performance Computing. You can find all my articles at