On this day commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., many people have taken to social media to share some of the best MLK quotes that history can remember. Of course, many of his wise words advocate for civil rights, which will always be pertinent to the global struggles of the modern age. But even some of the more specific MLK quotes tackle issues that are being hotly debated at this exact moment in American history.
Elite Daily shared the top 10 MLK quotes that can still teach us something, even decades after his death. Many of the battles Martin Luther King fought are still being fought today, especially those pertaining to race. While the institutionalized racism of today may be harder to notice than it was in King’s time, much of it is still alive and well. And some would argue that one of the biggest examples of racism is how America treats immigrants.
And here we have an MLK quote that speaks strongly to the topic of immigration, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
Immigration is, to some, a major political issue of the 2016 election. Donald Trump, especially, has expressed strong interest in securing America’s borders from outsiders — particularly Mexicans and Muslims. But the irony that this MLK quote points out is: nobody is truly a native to the United States except Native Americans. Yet many Americans are strongly advocating to keep other nationalities out.
Perhaps an even more controversial racial issue that’s dividing the nation is the Black Lives Matter movement. In response to the deaths of multiple unarmed black individuals who were shot and killed by white police officers, many protests, mostly peaceful but some violent, have formed across the country. The Black Lives Matter issue has forced many Americans to notice a kind of racism they hadn’t considered before. The following MLK quote suggests that an issue like the Black Lives Matter movement is how you determine the true nature of someone’s character.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Similarly, Martin Luther King acknowledged that change for the better almost never comes without the kind of conflict that America faces with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”
But race is not the only topic that famous MLK quotes cover. With self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders gaining a lot of support in the 2016 election, many Americans are re-evaluating whether or not capitalism is actually an effective model to run a prosperous nation. Raw Story put together a collection of MLK quotes that adhere to a more socialist ideology and explicitly denounce capitalism.
“I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic,” Martin Luther King Jr. said in a letter to Coretta Scoot. “[Capitalism] started out with a noble and high motive… but like most human systems it fell victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has out-lived its usefulness.”
In fact, the following MLK quote goes a step further by advocating for the “democratic socialism” that many left-leaning voters are now requesting.
“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.”
According to the Huffington Post, Dr. Felicia Clark even believes that MLK quotes can be applied to female body image, an issue that many women struggle with daily.
“Positive nurturing occurs when we are alive in our sensual energy, different from being a sex object,” Clark writes. “Embracing our sensuality is the place where loving our body starts. As King said, ‘hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.'”
What do you think? Do these MLK quotes apply to today’s biggest issues? What is your favorite thing Martin Luther King Jr. ever said? Click here for more MLK quotes and reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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