As part of our Livity Life Lessons series, we’re putting a spotlight on the life and times of great leaders, artists and creators from throughout the diaspora. Today on Martin Luther King Day we pay homage to Martin Luther King Jr. with a handful of some of his most thought-provoking quotes.
On standing for something
“There are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they are worth dying for. And I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live”
—Address at the Freedom Rally in Cobo Hall
“Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Without persistent effort, time itself becomes an ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism and social destruction.”
—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story Chapter XI: Where Do We Go From Here?’
On Ubuntu – ‘I am because we are’
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
On the global Diaspora and our struggles
“In our struggle for freedom and justice in the United States, which has also been so long and arduous, we feel a powerful sense of identification with those in the far more deadly struggle for freedom in South Africa. We know how Africans there, and their friends of other races, strove for half a century to win their freedom by nonviolent methods.”
Having visited both Ghana and Nigeria to celebrate both nations’ independence, he returned home to his congregation to educate members on what he witnessed.
“Ghana tells us that the forces of the universe are on the side of justice… An old order of colonialism, of segregation, discrimination is passing away now.”
Speech at Western Michigan University on December 18, 1963
Recommended Reading: BEYOND BORDERS: MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., AFRICA, AND PAN AFRICANISM