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12 Undiluted MLK Quotes: How are you working to honor Martin Luther King Jr's Legacy

Y’all already know we don’t sugarcoat things on this page.

Dr. King was a revolutionary. Let’s acknowledge him as such. Even though he is revered today (in a watered-down, palatable sense), MLK was widely disliked by the American public when he was killed. Seventy-five percent of Americans disapproved of the civil rights leader as he spoke out against the Vietnam War and economic disparity.

Dr. King’s fight extended beyond blatantly illegal state and local racial practices in favor of pursuing “a reconstruction of the entire society, a revolution of values,” one which would “look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth with righteous indignation.”

He acknowledged that many poor whites were “in the very same boat with the Negro,” he added, and if they could be persuaded to join forces with blacks, they could form “a grand alliance” and “exert massive pressure on the Government to get jobs for all.”

Dr. King shaking hands with the crowd during the Freedom March on Washington, 1963.


“We are saying that there is something wrong with capitalism…There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move towards a democratic socialism.


I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice, who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season.


Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.


The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.

King surrounded by reporters during a public address in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1962.


I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic… [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.


We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power… this means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation, and [we] must put [our] own house in order.


Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both.


I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective - the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed matter: the guaranteed income... The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.

The family of Martin Luther King Jr. view his body as it lies in state at Sister's Chapel at Spelman College.


If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God's children to have the basic necessities of life, she, too, will go to hell.


Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.


We must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.


True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

Protesters marching following King's death, 1968.

How are you moving in service toward the world our Ancestors and future generations deserve?

What am I doing?

•I am working to decolonize myself. my mind, and my spiritual practices.

•I am coaching others to help them decolonize themselves, their minds, and their spiritual practices.

•I am writing books with messages that relay the world I believe in.

•I am writing books with visuals for underrepresented communities to see themselves in.

•I am working to uplift BIPOCs and pay forward opportunities that have been offered to me.

•I am creating what was missing for me when I was young, as there was much that did not exist.

•I am creating antiracist and decolonizing products to help others actively work as co-conspirators.

•I am building a strong Black family in systems that were made to break us up and see us fail.

•I am making conscious decisions around my spending towards the world I believe in.

•I am fighting for climate justice on a political and individual scale.

•I am working with my Ancestors' guidance and building that bridge for future generations to be guided.

•I am working to have a strong work-life balance in regard to rest, leisure, and work for my Ancestors who did not have this luxury.

Where can you start if you don't know where to begin?

Decolonizing yourself - You can’t begin to see all the layers of oppression if you aren’t doing the internal work first. (Google - Poka Laenui for a Framework)

Speak out on your learning - As you evolve and shed programming that no longer makes sense educate others. When you know better, do better.

Time to start dreaming - What do equitable, sustainable, and regenerative systems look like?

Vote with your dollar - our world currently revolves around money. Your spending habits must reflect the world you believe in for yourself and future generations.

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