What’s Your Favorite Civil Right’s Quotation?

A friend of mine posted this question on Facebook today.  Immediately I thought of a quotation by Martin Luther King, Jr. which I first saw etched into a rock outside the Seattle Center.

“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”

I like this quotation (taken from part of a speech) on so many levels and think it is very relevant in today’s political environment.

As a people, we spend an inordinate amount of time gossiping, conniving, degrading, feeling angry, peeved and annoyed.  We are quick to attack and slow to see the perspective of others.  We are quick to lambast the problem makers and slow to help be part of the solution.  We love categories and divisions and taking up sides.

And none of it seems to do anything really productive in the long run.  At least, it’s not for me and the resulting energy that is created does nothing to improve my home life.

I do gossip and gripe and think judgemental thoughts.  I roll my eyes and want to solve problems with a, “FINE!”, but I try not to.

I remember once seeing a photo in a magazine of an old man standing by the side of the road, outside his house, with a sign declaring hatred towards some group.  I can’t even remember who he had dedicated his life towards hating, but I remember thinking what a sad life for his soul – his expression and his body were wracked with years of venemous toxins.

I do try to use this quotation by Martin Luther King, Jr. as a guiding philosophy with friends, co-workers, community members and others.   I want to live in a community where we work together to create something that works for everyone.  I don’t want to lay blame on teenagers, hooligans and miscreants for being lost and angry.  Instead I want to help provide the layer of support they need to find their way in a very large world.

What’s your favorite Civil Right’s Quote?


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3 responses to “What’s Your Favorite Civil Right’s Quotation?

  1. Dennis Keith

    Here’s another from MLK Jr: “Until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” This is etched alongside a fountain designed by Maya Lin at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. As I recall the words are close to words in the Bible in the book of Amos.

  2. Phlip

    Robert F. Kennedy
    University of Capetown
    Capetown, South Africa
    June 6, 1966

    I came here because of my deep interest and affection for a land settled by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century, then taken over by the British, and at last independent; a land in which the native inhabitants were at first subdued, but relations with whom remain a problem to this day; a land which defined itself on a hostile frontier; a land which has tamed rich natural resources through the energetic application of modern technology; a land which once imported slaves, and now must struggle to wipe out the last traces of that former bondage. I refer, of course, to the United States of America.

    • I didn’t recognize this and had to look it up.

      It was part of a very powerful speech in which Kennedy was able to draw a comparison between the Civil Rights movement in the United States and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Kennedy was also able to serve as the voice for the banned President, Chief Lutuli’s, call for a free South Africa. The speech is referred to as the “Ripple of Hope” speech in which he also said:

      “Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope; and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

      Thanks, Phlip for sharing your favorite quotation!

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