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MLK Memorial Quotes: 14 Passages Adorn Inscription Wall

First Posted: 08/28/11 02:23 PM ET   Updated: 10/25/11 06:12 AM ET

Today marks the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington DC. The centerpiece of the Memorial is a 30 foot tall sculpture of the civil-rights activist and preacher by Chinese artist Lei Yixin. However, the element of the memorial which "truly captures Dr. King's legacy" is an Inscription Wall featuring fourteen of the icon's most powerful quotations. The selection of quotes was selected by a specially appointed panel and includes selections from sermons and speeches delivered throughout King's career. The selections intentionally omit King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech in order to highlight some of his lesser known words.

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  • "We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

  • "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

  • "I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."

  • "Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in."

  • "I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against it not in anger but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and above all with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as a moral example of the world."

  • "If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective."

  • "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

  • "I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits."

  • "It is not enough to say, 'We must not wage war.' It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace."

  • "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."

  • "Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies."

  • "We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

  • "We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience."

  • "True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice."

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Filed by Bryan Maygers  |