On January 14, 2021, the newest statue to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was installed at the intersection of Northside Drive and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Atlanta, Georgia. The 18-foot bronze statue titled ‘Hope Moving Forward’ was sculpted by Jamaican-born Basil Watson. As a proud Jamaican myself, I pause to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, as we celebrate his life and work on MLK Day. He would have been 92 years old now if not for an assassin’s bullet. However, his words echo across the corridors of time and I delight in sharing some of my favorites with you.
MLK on Love
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
"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."
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
MLK on Courage
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
“Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles; Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it. Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”
MLK on Leadership
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
“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.”
“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
MLK on Success
“Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.”
“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.”
“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”
“We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.”
Which of my favorites stroked a chord on your heartstrings? Let me know.
Happy MLK Day!
Dr. Sandra Palmer – CEO and Senior Partner, Above or Beyond Consulting
Kingston, Jamaica. Fort Lauderdale, Florida