Martin Luther King, Jr. on Leadership, Education, and Belief in a Cause

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day marks a day that we reflect upon and celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, one of the foremost civil rights leaders in American history, and a leader who was ahead of his time, despite espousing some of the most timeless virtues and ideals like equality, opportunity, and peace.

Dr. King’s voice literally altered history and he spoke for millions. Many of his quotes have been indexed and catalogued because of their historical significance – and the wisdom they contained.

Here are a few of our favorite quotes from the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Leadership

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.”

“The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”

On Education

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

On Believing in a Cause

“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope”

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

Dr. King fundamentally changed the course of history, and reminds us that nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. We remember and are grateful for his dedication to justice and equality.

Training & Development Industry Researcher | Derek researches, discusses, and writes about the impacts of employee learning on organizations and individuals. He regularly interviews L&D and HR professionals, sharing their insight on trends and best practices that help organizations create stronger training programs, and help to grow their employees and their business.