5 Quotes Reminding Us Dr. King Was Radical

Do not remember Dr. King's legacy of leadership through a post or sound clip. Remember him in how you and your community will fight injustice in the state.

If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, he would be 95. All these years, Dr. King had a vision for our state and our country – one of racial, economic, and civic equity. A future where generations of people could enjoy the civil liberties guaranteed to them by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, the very rights that Dr. King and many organizers sacrificed themselves for are at risk.  

In the 2024 Legislative Session, lawmakers are attempting to strip voting rights through Senate Bill 1 – where if passed, you could be charged with a felony for helping someone get an absentee ballot or ballot application. And this is just the beginning of voter suppression as we move into Election season.  

Lawmakers are criminalizing voters, restricting free speech, and suppressing peaceful assembly. These reprehensible actions were what Dr. King and his peers continuously had to fight against. So today, do not remember the legacy of his leadership through a quote or sound clip. Remember him in how you, your neighbors, and your community are going to fight to make our state more equitable. 

Here are five quotes that remind us Dr. King was not just a brilliant and virtuous leader, but a radical organizer that fought against injustice. A leader that, just two years before his assassination, 63% of Americans viewed him unfavorably including 44% who viewed him highly unfavorably (Gallup, 1966). A leader that the FBI considered dangerous and attempted to disparage (NPR, 2021). A leader who was killed while supporting a sanitation workers strike against neglect and abuse.  

To fight for the future of our country means sacrifice and hardship, but we must believe that it’s one worth fighting for. 

  1. We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” 
    - Letter From a Birmingham Jail, 1963 
  2. “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” 
    - “Beyond Vietnam” Sermon, 1967 
  3. "Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.” 
    - Letter From a Birmingham Jail, 1963 
  4. “Always anchor our external direct action with the power of economic withdrawal.” 
    - “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” 1968 
  5. “A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?...It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity." 
    - “The Other America,” 1968