Social Justice

Words of Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr., this “Blue Monday”

Image by Emiliano Gaudiello from Pixabay 

Today is Blue Monday, supposedly the saddest day of the year. This idea originated as a PR stunt by Sky Travel in the UK back in 2005, but it’s picked up steam since then, probably because it seems reasonable on the face of it. After all, it’s not a pretty time of the year in the UK or in many other parts of the northern hemisphere. Still, it’s not like your depression is going to magically get worse today and then ease off tomorrow.

Today also happens to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US. It’s observed on the third Monday in January, around the time of his birthday, which was January 15, 1929. He was a very wise man, and there was a timeless quality to much of what he had to say that transcended the context of the civil rights movement at that time in history.

So, to spread a little light on the gloom of Blue Monday, here are some quotes from Dr. King.


Martin Luther King: "True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice."

True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice. 


Martin Luther King: "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."

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.


Martin Luther King: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

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


Martin Luther King: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny."

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


Martin Luther King: "He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love."

He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.


Martin Luther King: "The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."

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

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16 thoughts on “Words of Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr., this “Blue Monday””

  1. A man of so much wisdom & compassion, and you’ve chosen some excellent quotes. I find it impossible to choose a favourite of his because there are so many. I especially like “Darkness cannot drive out darkness” and his comments on injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. They’re all incredibly poignant. x

  2. I love how MLK talked about light beating darkness. We have way too much darkness in the world right now…we need the light to shine!! ❤❤❤

  3. All the practicing pacifists we have studied espouse variants of, “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” ❤️💕

    We are all people. It’s easier to love your enemy if you see no enemies, too. We are trying to be like that. We have to. We see the people who harmed us as people who got their needs met without thinking of our needs. Empathy was missing. Empathy seems to be the missing ingredient in violence. With empathy, violence seems less likely. Which is another way of saying that with love present, violence is driven away ❤️❤️💕💕

    1. I think that’s a very good way of putting it. And I’m glad that despite all the hate, there are always people not just talking love but living it. ❤️❤️❤️

  4. Those are all great quotes, and I hadn’t heard them! (I’ve only heard his “I have a dream” speech, which I memorized part of for chorus class in school.) My fave that you posted is: “He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.” That’s so true, and I wrestle with it on a daily basis, almost. Like, is it wrong of me to be filled with hatred because someone runs a stop sign? [Eyeroll.]

    I wish that there was someone like MLK alive today to do the same work that he did. The black community desperately needs good leadership, and no one (that I know of) has risen to the occasion. While we celebrate MLK day, let’s hope that someone like him can come along again, really soon!! 😮

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