Talk:Martin Luther King, Jr.

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Martin Luther King, Jr. page.


Quote on Zionism[edit]

This quote on Zionism has been widely exposed as a hoax; even the pro-Israel group CAMERA admits that this is "apparently" a hoax. No such quote can be turned up in MLK's collected works at the center in Atlanta, etc. etc.

Don't know what ideologue is putting this crap here, but no thanks, please. I'll be removing the quotes now. Thesobrietysrule 09:29, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

He did say "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism.". The "Letter to an Ani-Zionist Friend" is, however, a hoax (though try not to show your bias with labeling CAMERA "far-right" when it is not. Words have meaning. 17:24, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
[“The Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews and Israel” by Seymour Martin Lipset; in Encounter magazine, December 1969, p. 24.]

Here is the source of the quote. Check this source before deleting it.--Sefringle 03:57, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

He did say alot more than that and it has been confirmed, plese see the following link: Although it is correct that it was not from the letter that indeed was debunked but from a speech he gave at Harvard University 1968!

Among the quotes confirmed to be by Martin Luther King, Jr., on the persecutions of the Jewish people and support for the State of Israel and Zionism are the following:

"I cannot stand idly by, even though I happen to live in the United States and even though I happen to be an American Negro and not be concerned about what happens to the Jews in Soviet Russia. For what happens to them happens to me and you, and we must be concerned."

"Israel's right to exist as a state in security is uncontestable."

"Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality."

"I solemnly pledge to do my utmost to uphold the fair name of the Jews -- because bigotry in any form is an affront to us all."

"When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism."

These quotes should be added as soon as possible! They are historically important and significant in my opinion and they have also been confirmed. The removal of the quotes are thus formally wrong, this should be rectified as soon as possible. /BobbyRipper, March 2011

What Bobby/Ripper says above is CRUCIAL.

This is in fact scandalous. Full disclosure: I am in the midst of writing an article about this issue, and Wikipedia will figure in. We know, without question, which of the quotations are fraudulent. This one has been verified, again and again, and to even attach the words "disputed" to it is simply bad scholarship. It is no more disputed than the wording of the Gettysburg Address. (Yes, I'm sure that there are people out there who don't believe that Lincoln existed -- who "dispute" his words -- but that doesn't make his words disputed.) The correct quotation is this: “Don’t talk like that. When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking Anti-Semitism.” (Quoted by Seymour Martin Lipset, 1968)

Suggesting that the following essay casts doubt is intellectually dishonest: "The Use and Abuse of Martin Luther King Jr. by Israel’s Apologists." The writers would like to -- they try extremely hard -- but even they recognize that it's a fool's game: "While these points raise some doubt, let us assume that the quote is accurate." The same is true for this site, which spends a lot of time dissecting the "Letter to a Zionist Friend" (which is indeed fraudulent): This writer too finally gives up on his effort to deny the quotation: "Assuming this quote to be genuine, it is still far from the ideological endorsement of Zionism as theory or practice that was evidenced in the phony letter."

Yes, you must assume that genuine quotations are genuine. You may not *like* it, but Martin Luther King said this in 1968, as quoted in Lipset: “Don’t talk like that. When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking Anti-Semitism.”

To pretend that this is "disputed" turns Wikipedia into nothing more than propaganda.

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
To pretend or assume that either these assertions, or those entirely opposed to all aspects of them, are entirely coherent, let alone well informed, would be to turn oneself into a mere tool or dupe for some form of unopposed or poorly opposed propaganda, and Wikiquote remains what it is — and whatever it is, might sometimes appear, or eventually become, Wikiquote is NOT Wikipedia, nor abjectly subordinate in relation to it, nor to any critic of it, or of those at work upon it, or any of the other WIkimedia projects.
The arguments from the IP above were posted with the edit summary: There is no evidence that this quotation is disputed. None. None has been brought forward (nor could be.) Remove the words "Disputed.")
Whatever one's views on the genuine worth of these quotes or claims, or of any claims or quotes by anyone, and the likely providence and validity or invalidity of some, that they are "Disputed" is a rather mild assertion to make of any proposition or claim, when it is quite evident that they are in fact widely and passionately disputed, and propositions about how they should be construed or their significance interpreted are widely misused in different ways by various factions.
You state that "you must assume that genuine quotations are genuine" — to put it a bit more mildly than I might be inclined to, and yet more harshly than those accustomed to tepid, stale and lukewarm arguments of the mediocre and mendacious might wish, to assume anything beyond the genuine IDIOCY of such a proposition is itself extreme IDIOCY. In striving for proper balances of truth, justice and liberty for all, one hardly needs to assume anything in particular, rational or irrationally, with or without a great deal of evidence, but the logically competent can usually recognize illogical assertions and logical incompetence quite readily. I myself and a few others here happen to be the victims of some quite illogical and irrational propositions, suspicions, arguments, and highly invalid and incorrect propositions, prejudices, presumptions and amoral or immoral wills which have been supported or sustained because of them, and though I occasionally point this out to a relatively minor degree, to the irritation of a few, those most deeply immersed in maintaining, sustaining and supporting illogical, irrational, and even what I perceive to be clearly invalid and immoral propositions, prejudices and presumptions cannot be expected to clearly perceive, let alone acknowledge the profound errors involved in their perspectives and stances.
I am one of those who would maintain that if one is in the most important of ways among the greater levels of moral and rational competence which can exist in human beings, one must be honest and fair, and forgive many forms of human error and incompetence, accepting their necessity in the workings of fate and destiny, even if one cannot forget many aspects of them, because one is regularly burdened with reminders of such, and must regularly chastise some forms of them, so as to minimize the effect which incompetent and immoral assertions might have upon others, who might otherwise be largely or entirely taken in by false and foul arguments, which can seem or be convincing to those of little intellectual or moral depth.
Though often, whether by necessity or choice, many might be a bit more complex and easily confusing than many might wish them to be, one might hope that, eventually, genuinely competent assertions, arguments or statements can and will be recognized as genuinely competent, and genuine evidence accepted as genuine evidence by most, and false or incompetent assertions likewise rejected and repudiated by most — but to expect even that on an immediate basis in most cases, let alone all, is usually to be quite naïve as to the degree to which prejudices and presumptions often take root in human minds.
As it stands, after much dispute over the years, this was placed into a standard "Disputed" section of the article in this form:
To the relatively minor degree I have attended to the dispute at all, I personally see little valid reason to dispute that the quote is genuine, but see valid reasons to dispute associated claims or assertions related to it, including, first and foremost, the competence or correctness of the statement itself, whether one accepts, doubts or denies that MLK declared it. Certainly MANY people in criticizing Zionists ARE criticizing Jews generally, and the right of the existing political state of Israel to exist and maintain itself, but even this is not actually always the case, and many Jewish Zionists or non-Jewish supporters of the state of Israel might criticize other Zionists or supporters of the state of Israel without actually intending or implying a criticism of ALL Zionists, let alone all Jews. Beyond that there is the standard qualm about the semantic or etymological propriety of the regular use of "anti-semitism" to refer primarily or solely to hostility to Jews, rather than to other groups which could be declared Semitic, including Arabs, but historically this has had relatively minor traction. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 11:24, 14 November 2011 (UTC) + tweaks

Look. "Disputed" implies that MLK might not have said this. That's all it implies. Period. Which is false. That other people dispute the content of what he said is completely and utterly irrelevant. Good god: every single important assertion in history, by that criterion, is disputed. Do we put the word "disputed" beside Newton's Laws? Believe me, I wish George Bush had scribbled the word "disputed" on his "Mission Accomplished" sign, but he didn't. And if we were to append it to that sign on Wikiquote, we would be: a) making a pretty good joke, and b) making a joke out of the entire enterprise. Either this Wiki is a serious scholarly undertaking, or it isn't.

You say: 'I personally see little valid reason to dispute that the quote is genuine, but see valid reasons to dispute associated claims or assertions related to it.' Excellent. Cherish that opinion -- publish it on your blog; put it on a sandwich board and walk the streets with it -- but get it off the official Martin Luther King page.

The quotation is NOT disputed in the only sense that matters here.

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

Probably a good thing to take this disgraceful business public. The word "disputed" will perhaps get clarified. (I mentioned I was writing an article.)

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

OMFG. Your attempt to generate publicity for yourself and your blog by implying that Wikiquote or individuals who regularly work upon it are part of a vast conspiracy and "tremendous effort to deny that Martin Luther King ever said these words", because in responses to attempts to mediate between those bigots who might wish to REMOVE the quote entirely, or those who would promote it and HOAXES associated without any rational integrity at all, workers here have placed it in a standard "Disputed" section, is rather obvious. It might even be considered a somewhat sophisticated trolling and SPAMMING experiment.

You first made the ABSURD assertion that "To pretend that this is "disputed" turns Wikipedia into nothing more than propaganda." To this I have already responded. In your next posted statement you then asserted: "Disputed" implies that MLK might not have said this. That's all it implies. Period. Which is false." Which itself is FALSE: "Disputed" certainly implies it is disputed, NOT that it is certainly false — and THAT is the single MOST important thing it implies or could imply to various people, among a HOST of others — including many potential ideas as to HOW and WHY it is disputed.

Though I rather doubt anything remotely resembling this will actually occur, you might conceivably make some cretinous half-wit who has ever edited this particular page over the years tremble in fear with your self-inflating assertion: "Probably a good thing to take this disgraceful business public." In case your asinine conceits weren't apparent enough, Wikiquote has long been and IS a VERY PUBLICLY EDITED Wiki, with a far more established audience than you apparently have yet developed, and where a genuine effort to reach consensus on how to present things regularly occurs on many issues — and where disruptions by self-important idiots ranging from vandals, trolls (including trolls with blogs), to people who do genuinely and generally wish to suppress and diminish the free-speech rights of others regularly occur, and where people with diverse opinions on many issues have contended for years, with a damn sight more public exposure and scrutiny of procedures used than any you have yet have generated in your attempts at self-promotion.

You do acknowledge that the quote HAS been used as part of a HOAX — which has taken it out of context and added spurious material to it. IF this quote were simply quoted verbatim, without some prominent designations of HOW it has been misused and disputed by various factions with various bigoted agenda, many people might actually believe this site was giving a great deal of credence to that hoax, and might ask WHY, and criticize the project for being so lax in presenting false and misleading information, or allowing it to be given apparent sanction.

I certainly am entirely supportive of your right to express your opinions, here or elsewhere, but I have little inclination to suppress my own in asserting your attempts to generate a little publicity for yourself by impugning the motives of those who regularly work anonymously or pseudonymously at Wikiquote, and NOT seeking to generate personal publicity for themselves, and who regularly contend with a wide range of people who have a great deal of immature and asinine attitudes about MANY things, seems to me somewhat contemptible. Some might actually delude themselves that it is heroic journalism aimed at exposing some closely guarded secrets of cabals controlling public information at Wikimedia rather than petty mud-slinging at a straw man, or cynical barking at a straw dog, but they are entitled to their opinions also. So it goes…. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 11:23, 18 November 2011 (UTC) + tweaks

Quite apart from the issue of dispute over how the quote has been used, it would be informative to know the context and wording of the remark that prompted Dr. King's retort. I do not know the particulars, but I would entertain the possibility that when he is reported to have said "you are talking anti-Semitism" he may have been entirely correct, and may have been rebuking someone who was indeed painting all Jews with a broad brush. Taking a sharp retort from a conversation out of context can be fraught with opportunities for misinterpretation.

Regarding the above contributor's nascent blog: Don't quit your day job. ~ Ningauble 16:17, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Using further information provided by the article linked and other sites on the web, I have extended the quote to provide more information of the context reported, and included a link to the article criticizing Wikiquote's designation of the disputed quote as "Disputed." ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 16:26, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for the edit. It's not particularly coherent, but it's a step in the right direction. I'll try to supply something a bit clearer.

As for the advice: "Don't quit your day job." Noted. (I'm a writer. That's my day job.)

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
You here ridicule another editor's remarks of off-hand criticism of the journalistic skills and rational integrity which failed to be exhibited in the article, as if your career as a successful writer entirely negates it, but I fear it does not as the article is plainly full of incompetence at various levels, of which I will spare others a full analysis, beyond remarking that you quite clearly lack experience in working on a wiki, and an understanding that people who insist the often nebulous and shifting entities who work on wikis immediately and automatically conform to their arrogant instructions, orders and demands are often responded to with howls of laughter, some of which might spill over into some editor's immediate responses. I will remark that I typed this in AFTER your subsequent remarks below, so that people do not incidentally believe that you kept right on being insolently demanding and oblivious even after I made this comment. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 14:44, 19 November 2011 (UTC) + tweaks

Right. Now let's fix this. Much as this is all about me, and getting publicity for myself (how did you guess?), I do not actually want you to link to my Huffington Post piece. It's inappropriate: you're simply setting up a silly echo chamber, by linking to an article that criticizes Wikiquote. My piece was all about getting publicity for this appalling situation: a neutral reference site being hijacked by ideologues. So here's how you deal with this quotation: words that were unambiguously said by Martin Luther King. You quote them.

"Don't talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism!"

That's the quotation.

You now put it in context, by pointing out that it was made in response to an anti-Zionist remark at a private dinner, and you cite the source: Seymour Martin Lipset, in Encounter magazine (December 1969), p. 24.

That's it. Done.

NOW: if you want to talk about disputation, you do it with regard to quotations that are actually disputed. ELSEWHERE. Don't link to my piece: I simply write about what Martin Luther King said, and I'm not a primary source. Don't link to the Counterpunch piece: that's simply a failed effort to cast doubt upon what Martin Luther King actually said. Neither of these pieces are important. If you want to talk about disputed or fraudulent quotations, start perhaps with the "Letter to an anti-Zionist Friend," which is a hoax -- and which has nothing to do with this quotation. Do it somewhere else. Link to the scholars who discovered the hoax. Find other disputed quotations. Go hog wild. But don't try to pretend that THIS ONE is anything other than what it is: a quotation. Undisputed. By Martin Luther King, Jr.

(It would be much easier if I could simply clean up the page myself. I assure you: I'd do a fine job. Unfortunately, I don't have editing access, whereas you -- for some comical reason -- do. So it's your job to sweep out the bullshit.)

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

As I am NOT one for censoring apparently sincere messages or removing them, as some people are very prone to do, merely because they lack rational cohesion or much merit, I will have to let your recent comments remain here, for all to read, and be amused by, at your expense, and it seems very appropriate to respond to poorly informed bullshit with an appropriate image to accompany your heaping serving of it.


Dung beetles and maggots might find such things entirely fascinating and nutritious as what you have deposited here and at Huffington Post, but most human beings have more refined and complex tastes and affinities.

I will give you this amount of genuinely friendly advice: your editing here could proceed much more smoothly and unimpaired, and without exhibiting your IP to potentially hostile hackers if you simply registered a name here. After a short waiting period of a few days you would then be able to edit such articles as have some levels of protection on them, because of frequent vandalism, as this one does.

Like many poorly informed and presumptuous people, you seem to quite easily and readily take a stance of an authority to be OBEYED. I truly believe you do not realize how hysterically absurd many of your assertions truly are to anyone with the slightest degree of experience or competence in working on a wiki, or in resisting authoritarian ideologues and bigots of any variety — "right", "left", or any combinations, mixtures or meldings of other labeled delusions as human minds might devise….

You start off with a quite strong tone of condescension:

"My piece was all about getting publicity for this appalling situation: a neutral reference site being hijacked by ideologues. So here's how you deal with this quotation: words that were unambiguously said by Martin Luther King. You quote them."'

Ummm… forgive my apparent density here if I'm missing something — but I do believe that we DO quote King, and provide information about how the quote has been used and abused by various ideologues and bigots — and as to "a neutral reference site being hijacked by ideologues" — are you truly so oblivious to the extent you are being an ideologue or partisan on an issue and attempting to dictate policy and procedures and hijack a neutral reference site? You then rather amusingly propose:

"NOW: if you want to talk about disputation, you do it with regard to quotations that are actually disputed. ELSEWHERE"

My what an impressively and quite AUTHORITATIVELY AUTHORITARIAN tone you take as a newbie to the wiki ready to start giving ORDERS — clearly without much awareness of how wikis operate, to top off your clearly lack of competence in either rational or moral assertions.

You have at every step been someone insisting you know BEST what OTHERS should do — which marks you as an ass quite full of yourself and quite a massive amount of hypocritical bullshit. As a person of rather extraordinary intelligence, I too can sometimes be haughty, but I generally refrain from demanding anyone do anything that might be against their consciences or their capacities for rational integrity, beyond sometimes insisting they relent in their unjust oppression of others, whether they can actually wish to do so or not.

I do NOT believe that labeling as "Disputed" a controversial remark by King which has been disputed about for years, and continues to be disputed about now is a severe injustice, oppression or disservice to the honorable and revered Dr. King, nor to the expressions he is stated to have made.

I believe you flatter yourself to ridiculous degrees when you presume that I have cited your piece as something entirely admirable, rather than to some extent as an another example of the ridiculous assertions that have been made about this quote and how it has been used and misused — as is the Counterpunch article. Amidst a great deal of biased and ill-informed nonsense you both provide some useful and interesting information, which might be provided from other sources, but I believe both of the articles cited can provide to the wise cautionary examples about how information can be misused and distorted by those of little discernment.

As for removing the link to your article, I must confess, I don't believe that is appropriate. You took it upon yourself to criticize procedures and policies here at Wikiquote as to how the quote was handled, in a very public manner, with apparently only rudimentary understanding of how wikis operate, and anyone who is actually so misinformed as to believe that some of your most arrogantly presumptuous points hold up to scrutiny is entitled to believe what they must, but both articles do serve to illustrate that human assessments about what matters most about various statements — and the degree to which they can be authenticated — vary greatly, and why it is fully appropriate to label the quote as "Disputed."

Whether or not you have clearly begun to discern some of your errors, you on the other hand seem to be advocating a stance by which others simply submit to your will and presumptions of superior moral authority, hide their heads in the sand, IGNORE much of the controversy, ERASE many traces of it in a rather Orwellian dystopia sort of way — and to some extent simply "OBEY BIG BROTHER", which you seem to believe means simply and abjectly obeying YOU, and your arrogant assumptions and deferring to your superior degree of benevolent enlightenment. Pardon me if I take some time in continuing to LAUGH. I truly have laughed out loud at both your arrogance and other forms of your rational incompetence, which far exceeds that of many newbies to editing on the Wikimedia projects. Your particular form of ranting and trolling is rather amusing, and admittedly a bit more interesting and sophisticated in some ways than some I normally encounter in my nearly daily services to this site. I wish you well, and hope that you can have a long and productive career — but also that you will do a bit more investigating as to other people's perspectives and procedures before insisting that they abjectly defer to those you might wish to propose. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 14:44, 19 November 2011 (UTC) + tweaks

Another perspective on the histrionics of

"My piece was all about getting publicity for this appalling situation: a neutral reference site being hijacked by ideologues." Really? Wikiquote is only mentioned towards the end of the blog post. There is much that can be criticized about the wiki process; but the bloggery contains nothing remotely resembling a coherent critique of the way this wiki operates. The claim of ideological hijacking is nothing but trollery that reflects no cognizance of ideological positions taken by those you accuse. None. Whatsoever.

What the piece does appear to be seeking to publicize is simply this: something reported by one person to have been a conversational interjection in response to an unspecified remark by an unidentified person. Fine. As such, it would hardly be considered quoteworthy (see Wikiquote:Quotability) if it had not become the object of public dispute. Your assertion "that other people dispute the content of what he said is completely and utterly irrelevant" could not be any more off the mark. It is the main thing that makes this offhand remark relevant for inclusion in the first place.

The specific substance of your complaint is that Wikiquote labels as "disputed" something about which your own blog says "there's a whole lot of disputation going on." Read that sentence again: You said it is disputed, Wikiquote says it is disputed, your objection could not be more vacuous.

Your objection might be chalked up to some misconception that the "Disputed" label indicates Wikiquote disputes it, rather than indicating that there is inconclusive dispute elsewhere, if it were not the case that this very article contains a "Misattributed" section exemplifying how Wikiquote expresses a position deeming an attribution debunked. Since I doubt you are so blind as that, I surmise that your histrionics reflect some other agenda.

If your agenda is to support or oppose what Dr. King is reported to have said, blog away to your heart's content. If your agenda is to contextualize the remark as a position on the Hamas charter written twenty years later, or to express any other opinions about the significance of what he may have meant, that is your business.

But if your agenda is really, as you say it is, all about denouncing Wikiquote as being hijacked by ideologues then you should not be surprised to find someone linking back to your folly. The link may not stand, but if it embarrasses you in the meantime then consider it a learning opportunity for the next time you feel the urge to libel someone. ~ Ningauble 19:16, 19 November 2011 (UTC)(amended for clarity ~ Ningauble 16:25, 20 November 2011 (UTC))

Leaving the link to the Huffington Post doesn't embarrass me -- it embarrasses this enterprise. Although I suppose it's better to have that link than nothing, if you insist upon labeling this quotation "disputed." Let me try be a little less high-handed, and explain why this issue is truly serious.

If you permit this label to stand, you're opening Wikiquote up to all sorts of subtle vandalism. Nobody credible disputes that MLK said this. The attribution is rock solid -- the quotation's authenticity is no more questionable than any other quotation on Wikiquote. I think we agree here. Yet lots of people would prefer that he hadn't said it. By writing spurious pieces "disputing" its provenance, these people manage to cast doubt on an historical fact -- and you're enabling this distortion of history by making their groundless doubts somehow part of the official record.

Now, what happens when these same people decide they don't like MLK's other undisputed quotation regarding Israel? If they write a piece in Counterpunch, failing to disprove its authenticity, does this other quotation then get labeled "disputed"? Do we allow anti-Israeli propagandists to move all uncomfortable quotations into the disputed category?

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
There certainly are many highly disputed assertions and very seldom disputed ones with high likelihood of authenticity, and with low, and there are NO absolute formulas which can be relied upon to designate what is the most appropriate label for some people to use for anything — and I certainly can concede that there are both highly skeptical and generally intelligent and highly credulous and generally stupid people who would believe many ridiculous things, or dispute nearly anything, including the labeling of highly disputed things as disputed — and would seek to imply that such a label as "Disputed" is merely an unwarranted and craven concession to those who would wish to label something "Misattributed" — even when there is plainly little evidence that such is the case. As it is a secondhand account, there can be some reasonable room for doubt as to it's accuracy, even if one does not have any significant doubt that something of the general sort was most likely said. As it continues to be a major focus of dispute and discussion, with little concession or consensus among various factions, regarding it's significance or its accuracy, ranging from those inclined to treat it as a highly credible general policy statement, or an incidental admonition to some incidental remarks, to those inclined to deny it altogether, I believe it is entirely appropriate to continue to regard it as "disputed", and the links provide evidence of the ways it IS disputed by various people with various biases, presumptions and agenda. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 01:23, 1 December 2011 (UTC) + tweaks
This quote on Zionism has been widely criticized as a hoax. However, the quotation was indeed made by Martin Luther King. The "hoax" is surrounding a letter that was supposedly written. MLK did not make this statement in a letter. He spoke these words in response to a student who made an anti-Semitic comment at a fundraising dinner held in Cambridge.

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

A little change[edit]

I changed "African-American civil rights activist" to "black civil rights activist" in this article, because Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights activist for all black people, not just the African ones.

--RavenStorm 20:53, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't really see the difference I'm sorry, could you please explain it? -- 17:02, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm not an expert (and not involved in editing this page, I was just reading), but I believe that black includes people from, say, Haiti or Jamaica who have moved to the US. They are also dark-skinned and appear "African-American" but since they are not from Africa (at least not directly), it is incorrect to call them "African-American" and actually more correct to call them "black". (I have an American friend of Jamaican descent who explains this to people a lot, haha)

Bonhoeffer Quote[edit]

"If your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi and nonviolence. But if your enemy has no conscience like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer."

Why was this deleted? If it`s not by MLK, at least move it to misatributed, since alot of people seem to think it is.

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

It is doubtful that Martin Luther King would say this. He believed in a Beloved Community, a concept derived from Josiah Royce. Royce believed in Loyalty even at the price of losing. King was loyal to nonviolence. Bonhoeffer contradicts King's loyal commitment.

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
The rationale above for stating the quote was unlikely to have been said by King seems hardly relevant or coherent, but the quote in question was moved into the section on this page for unsourced quotes, simply because there are no published sources of this yet found, and as part of what is becoming the normal procedure for handling unsourced quotes. ~ Kalki 00:17, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
While anything is possible, I own and have read a number of King's books, including two that are collected quotations and I have published articles on him, and I have never heard of this quote being attributed to him.
—This unsigned comment is by Standuncan (talkcontribs) .
I can't speak to the quote but King was not a pacifist like Gandhi. He wanted federal troops to enforce the laws protecting African Americans. He led a non-violent movement and God bless him, but I don't think he ever absolutely rejected violence and coercion. Gandhi went so far as to say that the Jews shouldn't have resisted Hitler.
—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .


The extensive use of bolding here seems to also be somewhat slanted in what is chosen for bolding. I'd rather see most of the arbitrary bolding removed. --Kynn 05:19, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

I so agree with this 2007 poster. It is very distracting and makes it difficult to tell what is quote and what is not. What criteria do you use to embolden parts of entries? What does the emboldening even mean? Nothing in the article tells us. These quotes would be far more readable without the boldness, if they are there as arbitrarily as they seem to be. Thank you, Wordreader (talk) 03:29, 22 March 2015 (UTC)


These should be provided with sources before being moved back
  • You can't talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can't talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You're really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry...Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong...with capitalism...There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.

said to be part of a speech in front of his staff, Frogmore, South Carolina, November 14, 1966.

  • A riot is, at bottom, the language of the unheard.
  • All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
  • All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.
  • Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
  • At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.
  • Blood may have to flow in the streets of Montgomery before we attain our freedom, but that blood should be our blood, and not that of the white man
    • Speech, 1956
  • Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
  • 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.
  • Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.
  • Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
  • I fear that I am integrating my people into a burning house.
    • In response to Harry Belafonte's inquiry as to what was troubling Dr. King.
  • Forgiveness is not an occasional habit, it is a permanent attitude
  • Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
- sourced : Strength to love, last paragraph of section III of Antidotes for fear, page 122 -

Would someone please update this and move it to the proper section in the main page? Thanks.

  • Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies — or else? The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
  • He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
It's a quote from Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958), his memoir of the Montgomery bus boycott. (Full text here.) --Lastwill 14:25, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
  • History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
    • Variant: We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.
  • Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
  • I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
  • I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream — a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality.
  • Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.
  • I want to be the white man's brother, not his brother-in-law.
  • I've been beaten so many times, I've become immune to it.
  • If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
  • If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.
  • If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.
  • If you haven't found something to live for you better find something to die for.
  • If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.
  • If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, "There lived a great people - a black people - who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization."
  • If your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi and nonviolence. But if your enemy has no conscience like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer.
  • In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.
  • It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society.
  • It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.
  • It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.
  • Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.
  • Let no one drive you so low as to hate him.
  • Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'
  • Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
  • Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.
  • Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
  • Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
  • Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
  • Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
  • Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.
  • Our scientific powers have outrun our spiritual powers; we have guided missiles and mis-guided men.
  • Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
  • People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not properly communicated.
  • Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.
  • Pity may represent little more than the impersonal concern which prompts the mailing of a check, but true sympathy is the personal concern which demands the giving of one's soul.
  • Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, "Here is an opportunity for me to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary."
  • Science investigates, religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power religion gives man wisdom which is control.
  • Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
  • The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.
  • The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"
  • The greatest sin of our time is not the few who have destroyed but the vast majority who sat idly by.
  • The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
  • The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.
  • The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
  • The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.
  • The Negro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the Negro to free him from his guilt.
  • The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.
  • The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be... The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.
  • There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.
  • Throw us into jail and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence at midnight hour to beat us till we are half-dead, and we shall still love you. Be assured that we shall wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your hearts and conscience that we shall win you over in the process and our victory shall be a double victory.
  • True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
  • Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys a community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.
  • We are not makers of history. We are made by history.
  • We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.
    • In this quote, Dr. King is apparently paraphrasing President Calvin Coolidge, who in an address, entitled "Toleration and Liberalism," to the American Legion Convention at Omaha on Oct. 6, 1925, said: "No matter by what various crafts we came here, we are all now in the same boat." See Coolidge's Foundations of the Republic (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926), p. 298. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk)
      • Either that, or it is just a misattribution of something King never said. ~ Ningauble 20:54, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
  • We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
  • We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.
  • We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.
  • We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. 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. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
  • We must use time creatively — and forever realize that the time is always hope to do great things.
  • We see men as Jews and Gentiles, Chinese or Americans, Protestants or Catholics. We fail to see in them the same basic stuff as we, and molded in that same Divine Image
  • We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.
  • We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our ability to endure suffering.
  • What do they [Vietnam] think as we test our new weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?
  • When evil men plot, good men must plan; when evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind; when evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love; where evil men will seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice
  • When for decades you have been able to make a man compromise his manhood by threatening him with a cruel and unjust punishment, and when suddenly he turns upon and says: ‘Punish me! I do not deserve it, but because I do not deserve it, I will accept it so that the whole world would know I am right and you are wrong!!’ you hardly know what to do. You know that this man is as good a man as you are and that from some mysterious source, he has found the courage and conviction to meet physical force with soul-force.
  • When the history books of the future are written, they would say: ‘Once upon a time, there lived a good people in Montgomery who did what was right’, and from this moment there can be no turning back
    • Speech, 1956; this needs a definite date.
  • Yes, I see the Church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.
  • If there is violence in word of deed it must not be our people who commit it.
    • December 1957.
  • My whole Christian background had a great deal to do with my coming to this conclusion that love and nonviolence should be regulating ideals in any struggle for human dignity... along with this, I read Mahatma Gandhi in my student days.
    • King answer when interviewer Pierre Berton asked him if he had gotten his ideas about nonviolence from Ghandi. 28 april 1959
  • A riot is the language of the unheard.
    • Address given in Birmingham, Alabama (1963-12-31)
  • When we look at modern man, we have to face the fact that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit, which stands in glaring contrast to his scientific and technological abundance. We've learned to fly the air like birds, we've learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven't learned to walk the earth as brothers and sisters.
  • In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.

Quote Limit[edit]

Is having this many quotes on a page like this allowed or it has to be trimmed? All articles I see including Real People Articles, Film Articles and even Video game articles were trimmed for a good reason. So should this page get trimmed or leave it with to many quotes?(StarWarsFanBoy 20:49, 13 January 2010 (UTC))

Not mis-attributed[edit]

This quote is not mis-attributed. I have just heard this speech from MLK in three different videos in his own voice.

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those, who in the time of greatest moral conflict, remain neutral. "Nunamiut 04:38, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

It is a JFK quote, but I think that saying he was "misquoting" Dante is misleading and loaded language. It would be more accurate to say "alluding to the Third Canto of Dante's Inferno," or "referencing the Third Canto of Dante's Inferno." Even just saying "paraphasing would be better. As currently written the clear implication is that JFK didn't know that those were not Dante's exact words, which is both false and (if you've ever read Dante - and JFK did) absurd. I would fix it myself, but the page appears to be locked. Can the guardian of this locked page, whoever you are, please remove this inappropriate elbow jab at JFK? Thank you. TheCormac 22:04, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Want to add this quote[edit]

I can't believe this quote isn't here already. Page locked, so I can't add it. "We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation." source

—This unsigned comment is by Blaha (talkcontribs) .
I have now added this, and extended it a bit for context. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 21:41, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Arc of the universe[edit]

Was King quoting another person when me mentioned the "arc of the universe"? Conservapedia says that President Obama's office rug misattributes the quote, but isn't this a case of a black political leader citing or incorporating a passage from a less-known writer, in a longer speech?

Recall Nelson Mandela's quote about fearing our own power, written by some new age women author:

  • Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. --Ed Poor 18:17, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
King's expression that "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice" was his own succinct summation of ideas apparently developed upon those of Theodore Parker who in "Of Justice and the Conscience" asserted: "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice." ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 03:44, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Transcription error in "Keep Moving From This Mountain" speech[edit]

The online transcription of this speech that is used as source for this contains the phrase "flush parts of Egypt" and that is what is repeated here. However, I am reasonably certain that the phrase used is "flesh pots of Egypt" (Exodus 16:3, at least in the King James version).

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. --> Also Martin Luther[edit]

The earliest evidence of the quote is found in a circular to the Hessian Church by October 1944.

Rejoice in death quote.[edit]

The twitterverse is all atwitter with a MLK quote that I cannot source. The full quote being attributed is "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

The first sentence sounds like something he would say, but the rest of the quote is verbatim from "Strength to Love" and "Where do we go from here" so it's possible he reused the language and added something for another speech. However, because this is such a relevant topic today, with the death of Bin Laden, the only results I can find in any search engine are from recent tweets and blog posts. I can't find anything older than a year for this particular phrasing. Does anyone out there have an accurate source for this quote?

Also, the link in the article to "Where Do We Go From Here?" is broken. Here's one that works:

And the full text of "Strength to Love" is here:

Article is locked or I'd make the changes to the links. 21:33, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

dakwegmo 21:33, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

I have added one of the links suggested, and provided better alternatives to online text with another. As to the quote, there is more research to be done, but as you indicate, the exact form portrayed does not seem to have been around for long, and might be a paraphrase of other statements. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 23:01, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
Origin of the mis-quote:!/jmadly/status/65314784136011776 Andjam 10:50, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
Notes and links related to this misattribution have been added to the misattributed section. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 14:12, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

In looking for the real version of this quote too ("The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral...") I find that the quote in the wikiquote page is not quite accurate either. It is apparently this quote: . Note that the Bartleby has no ellipse after "So it goes" (which signify that there is a gap in the text). Also, it has "Returning violence for violence multiplies violence" rather than "hate for hate multiplies hate." Mtkoan 19:29, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

The quotes here are accurate to the sources cited. I have noticed ellipses in some versions where there were none in some of the original sources. King as a social activist often used very similar speeches to different audiences, with only slight changes, or very different speeches or writings in which some of the same phrases were used, and this often resulted in variants arising. Disputes can arise over the most accurate version relative to a specific date, and which dates were the earliest in which some famous phrases were used. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 20:14, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
I see now that there is an attribution below the quote to "Where Do We Go From Here..." p. 62, 1967. Somehow I missed that before (or maybe it was put in just now). It's odd that the Bartleby reference is apparently for the same book (as pp. 62-63), but, as I said, has the different version listed. I don't have the book to check against. Bartleby may be wrong.
In the printing of the book linked above in this section, from 1968, pp. 64-65, the Bartleby text is given. Mtkoan 23:39, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Citation of Counterpunch[edit]

Counterpunch hosts holocaust deniers, such as Israel Shamir: . It shouldn't be used as an external link. Andjam 10:49, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

If one were to exclude links to all sites that host posts by people with ridiculous or unpopular ideas, one would have to exclude most of the internet. I cleaned up the formatting of a link to that site, but have not seen any definite reason to remove it, and the article cited might conceivably prompt a move of the quote it disputes into a disputed section, though I have not done that as yet. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 11:38, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
After briefly reviewing the material, and remembering a long history of contentions about this quote, I have now created a "Disputed" section on the page for it, and any other widely disputed quotes, not firmly sourced nor yet so strongly refuted as to be declare "Misattributed". ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 11:48, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Quote from Jessica Dovey RE: "I will mourn the deaths" quote[edit] 14:03, 3 May 2011 (UTC)B. Kent

Notes and other links related to this misquotation have been added to the "Misattributed" section. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 14:13, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Shouldn't this read as facebook posts rather than twitter? -- 15:04, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

They both seem to be involved in the rapid circulation of this particular combination of quotes and misattributions, and I will amend the comment accordingly. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 20:15, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

I would note that though some have mocked the conflation of statements and the sentiments, because of the clear NECESSITY of eliminating so foul a menace to society and social progress as Osama bin Laden has been, the sentiments are ancient ones, and have been expressed by others. Most people can and do feel something wrong in rejoicing too much in another's misfortune's or doom, even when it is clearly a justified one, and some past expressions of this which came to mind, immediately upon learning of his death were some which included this one by Henryk Sienkiewicz in Without Dogma (1891): "There is within us a moral instinct which forbids us to rejoice at the death of even an enemy." I was relieved and glad the mortal existence of bin Laden in this world had been so capably ended by courageous actions on the part of many, but any joy I might have felt was quite muted, though I could clearly understand the reasons and relative propriety of the exuberance of many of those who had clearly suffered or been burdened in various ways because of his aims and actions. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 20:33, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

It should also be noted that MLK himself used very similar language to the misattributed quote. In "Strength to Love" page 79 he's talking about the biblical story of Moses and the parting the Red Sea that allowed them to escape from the Egyptian army, Dr. King says, "The meaning of this story is not found in the drowning of the Egyptian soldiers, for no one should rejoice at the death or defeat of a human being." Dakwegmo 14:03, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

Not comfortable adding[edit]

hi guys, I was watching eyes on the prize, and heard this quote by king in an interview. I don't feel comfortable adding it myself, but if someone else could put it under the right heading, that would be wonderful.

[Azbell:] You’ve had some rather personal trying experiences yourself. Are you afraid? [ K i n g : ] No I’m not. My attitude is that this is a great cause, it is a great issue that we are confronted with and that the consequences for my personal life are not particularly important. It is the triumph of the cause that I am concerned about. And I have always felt that ultimately along the way of life an individual must stand up and be counted and be willing to face the consequences whatever they are. And if he is filled with fear he cannot do it. My great prayer is always for God to save me from the paralysis of crippling fear, because I think when a person lives with the fears of the consequences for his personal life he can never do anything in terms of lifting the whole of humanity and solving many of the social problems which we confront in every age and every generation.

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

Vandalism under "Quotes about King" Bullet points 2 and 3[edit]

Political propaganda, not relevant to King, and unsubstantiated in any case. This clearly constitutes an attempt at vandalism and the offending users account should be terminated.

Ericqwerty (talk) 09:48, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

We quote a lot of political propaganda, including many of King's most famous quotes. You complain about quotes which were substantiated with sources and links. You may not like quotes denouncing Martin Luther King as a communist sympathizer. Neither do I. But “I don't like it” is not “vandalism”. ~ Robin Lionheart (talk) 02:05, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Vandalism due to intellectual dishonesty and political propaganda[edit]

Robin Lionhearts comments have no relevance to an article about Martin Luther King and were only added as an attempt at political propaganda and should be deleted as such.

{{subst:Proposed deletion|concern=Vandalism due to intellectual dishonesty and political propaganda}}

Ericqwerty (talk) 09:51, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Until this writing, I have made no comments on this page to delete. ~ Robin Lionheart (talk) 01:57, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

“When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” —Martin Luther King, Jr. VERIFIED[edit]

See this detective work by Martin Kramer and remove the disputed label from this quote.Skbarton13 (talk) 14:42, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

This adds new details to the dispute, and is a fine piece, other than making such slanderous remarks as the assertion that Wikiquote's labeling of this statement as "Disputed" "To all intents and purposes …constitutes an assertion that Lipset might have fabricated both the occasion and the quote." Such arguments have been made or implied by others, but the Wikiquote stance has been one which accepted that there was NOT conclusive evidence either way. IF it was labelled "Misattributed" THAT would constitute an acceptance of the illogical assertion that the quote certainly WAS fabricated, and if it was simply removed from the disputed section we might not be bothered by illogical assertions contrary to that, that it has been PROVEN, because it has not been DISPROVEN. That it remains disputed and disputable indicates to me that the Disputed section remains its proper place, despite the blatantly presumptuous assertion that "Every particular of this statement is now corroborated by a wealth of detail. We now have a date, an approximate time of day, and a street address for the Cambridge dinner, all attested by contemporary documents.
So will the guardians of Wikiquote redeem this quote from the purgatory of “disputed”? Let’s see if they have the decency to clear an eminent scholar of the suspicion of falsification, suggested by persons whose own sloppy inferences have been exposed as false. " The sloppy inferences of this statement indicate the truth that much supporting evidence has been provided, and properly dispute and reject what seems the sloppy inferences of others, but it would be craven concession to many sloppy inferences to deny that it remains disputed, and reasonably disputable, and to accept that the the quote itself is "VERIFIED" as the heading of this statement and the assertions of the article imply — which is NOT the case. Personally I repeat earlier assertions that I have no significant doubt that King said such words, and that the quoted statement is probably very accurate, but I do not accept that verification is so absolute as this article implies, nor that it is a lack of decency to hold higher standards of logical PROOF than the writer of the article is inclined to assume are appropriate. ~ Kalki·· 15:08, 12 March 2012 (UTC) + tweaks : P.S. : I will probably add details of Kramer's assessment to the comments on the quote, but do not intend to remove it from the disputed section.

I have now accepted and added the details of Kramer's research to the comments on the quote, indicating the strongly corroborating evidence that is available. The date differs from the previously provided one of 1968, but I accept that the research indicates the new date is strongly evidenced as correct. But if previous accounts of the date have been inaccurate, I believe cases can reasonably still be made that the quote from memory should probably be considered a reasonably accurate paraphrase rather than a verifiably precise quote. ~ Kalki·· 16:07, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Kalki: I disagree with your decision to leave the quote in the disputed section. I do not think any more evidence is required to label the quote as genuine. Would you be so kind as to point me to where or to whom I can directly appeal? Thank you, Steve Barton, Dunwoody, Georgia Skbarton13 (talk) 16:16, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

There are no absolutist authorities here, there is only the slowly and gradually working process of consensus, which is sometimes disregarded or effectively hijacked for a time by people who are more interested in prevailing against other's or their views than promoting respect for truths and the processes of discussion. I have included much of the evidence indicating that the quote is NOT a mere fabrication as some might like to imply, but also reject the notion that such evidence can or does confirm it as accurate quotation. As I noted in a summary comment, the disputed statement probably receives FAR More attention in the "Disputed" section than it ever would in the relative obscurity it would have placed in the larger section of the page among many more famous, verifiably accurate quotes. I personally approve of the attention it receives as a likely indication of King's views — and I do not accept the assessment that the placing of it in the "Disputed" section is tantamount to declaring it false, or Lipset a liar. I actually believe attempts to further resolve the disputes that have surrounded it will probably prove very helpful to many people in the long run, and see no need to demote it to relative obscurity, save among the most zealous disputants regarding various forms of anti-semitism, by improperly assuming it absolutely "confirmed." ~ Kalki·· 16:49, 12 March 2012 (UTC) + tweaks

Kalki: Thanks for your response. Upon looking up your extensive contributions to this site, I figured I was not going to find a higher "direct" authority. I plan to be back later with a succinct case for consideration. Skbarton13 (talk) 01:13, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Interested Reader writes: We can move research on this forward if we “un-dispute” the quote. There is objective justification for doing so. The original question-mark was posed solely on chronological grounds (MLK was not in Cambridge or Boston “shortly before” his assassination). Prof. Kramer shows that he was in both places, etc. So there’s no evidence-based argument disputing the quote at the moment. It is also now clear what the next step must be. Thanks to Dr. Kramer’s research, we know that in addition to Lipset and Peretz, who attest to the quote, there was another witness at the dinner: Amb. Andrew Young. Prof. Kramer says he has written to Amb. Young twice. So far Amb. Young has not contradicted or confirmed the quote. By his silence, he is effectively allowing it to stand. If he does contradict it, then it would certainly be “disputed.” Probably the best way to prompt Amb. Young to weigh in would be to “un-dispute” the quote. More people will have an incentive to ask him about it.

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
As I have implied earlier, I actually believe the statement receives far more attention as a disputed quote representative of King's general thought than it would have ever generated if it had simply been retained in the general quotes sections. IF it were to be removed from that, it would probably be most appropriate to place Lipset's entire anecdote into the section of "Quotations about King" as indisputably that — though one could rationally still argue about the accuracy of any wording attributed to King which is presented, when it seems that even the date of the meeting had long been presented in confused or inaccurate manner. Additional comments could be retained about the controversies generated by it, but I doubt that such would ever again generate the amount of attention it has received in recent months by being in our "Disputed" quotes section. ~ Kalki·· 15:26, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Interested reader: I still have the uneasy feeling we are doing an injustice to the late Prof. Lipset. He was highly esteemed, he told an anecdote with a direct quote in a major magazine, all the surrounding circumstances now pan out completely, and it’s still deemed disputed because of a piece in a thing called the Electronic Intifada, written more than thirty years later and which hasn’t put forth any evidence that stands the test. The quote may be getting more attention, but so is Wikiquote. Prof. Kramer called it the go-to place to verify quotes, “for better or worse.” This doesn’t look better. I think the ball should be in the court of the "disputers," and we should put it there. (And they know what they must do: go to Amb. Young.)

Unsourced Quote Re: Economic Models[edit]

"We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor."

I have seen the above quotation floating around social media, image macros, and some blogs. It returns ~6k Google hits when searched in quotes. When any additional information is given it is often claimed that it is from 1964. Can anyone provide evidence to confirm/deny the authenticity of this quotation? Nolandda (talk)

Probably referring to a stringing together of several quotes, all found in To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference By Adam Fairclough p. 360-361 (available on Google Books).

In demanding jobs and income, therefore, "we are going to demand what is ours." Lest anyone object that this amounted to "welfare" or "socialism," King pointed to the enormous sums which the government pumped into agriculture and industry. "When it's given to white people it's called a subsidy. Everybody in this country is on welfare. Suburbia was built on federally-subsidized credits. And the highways were built by federally-subsidized firms to the tune of ninety per cent." America already had "socialism for the rich" he insisted; only the poor had to endure "rugged, free enterprise capitalism."

Sources for the above are found on p. 485 of said book. To my knowledge, none of these speeches are available online. They are listed as follows:

King, "In Search of a Sense of Direction," speech to SCLC board, February 7, 1968, pp. 3-6, speech to Mississippi leaders, February 15, 1968, pp. 5-6, Speech to Ministers Leadership Training Program, February 23, 1968, p. 4

Without direct access to the archives we can't for certain get an exact phrase, but the spirit of the quote is likely authentic.



"A riot is the language of the unheard. Address given in Birmingham, Alabama (1963-12-31)"

This quote was actually from his speech "The Other America", delivered on March 14, 1968 in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and prior to that, at Stanford University on April 14, 1967.

There's actually a lot of good context/other sentences couching that truncated quote. Might be good to include those too, depending on which version you cite. D00o0ood (talk) 04:16, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Quote on Israel - Correcting source and expanding quote[edit]

The quote on Israel that begins "Peace with Israel" has a link that simply goes to the Jerusalem Post without further specifying the source. A search of the JPost articles for "martin luther king 1968" leads to only one relevant result here, which includes a modified version of the quote: "The whole world must see that Israel must exist and has a right to exist and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world." The link in that article goes to this unsourced 13-second YouTube clip (containing a subtitle claiming it was recorded in 1967).

A little more digging lead to the discovery of this far more reliable source for a somewhat modified version of the quote, which was indeed given in 1968. Would someone please amend the quote to the actual working and add more context before and after to avoid giving a misleading impression of having given a one-sided endorsement of Israel's actions.EthicsEdinburgh (talk) 10:52, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Quoted in Carnegie's 'How to Win Friends'[edit]

“Martin Luther King was asked how, as a pacifist, he could be an admirer of air Force General Daniel ‘Chippie’ James, then the nation’s highest-ranking black officer. Dr. King replied, ‘I judge people by their own principles – not by my own.’”

Page 138 of Dale Carnegie's 'How to Win Friends and Influence People', 1981 Revised edition.

I cannot find any reputable sources which verify this attribution. Is it legitimate?

John Brown 87 (talk) 05:24, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

“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.”[edit]

I've seen this sourced to MLK quite often but I can't find evidence that he actually said it. Google has no results for the quote prior to the year 2000, so maybe someone made it up around that time and attributed it to him?--Craigboy (talk) 09:01, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

There's a 1993 by David Roth and Chuck Pyle song called "If you can't fly". The lyrics include "If you can't fly you can run, if you can't run you can walk".--Craigboy (talk) 09:18, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

The actual quote is as follows: "If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving." It concluded a Spelman College Founder's Day Address on 11-Apr-1960 and was referring to a poem by Langston Hughes. The complete address can be found here. --Rrwagner59 (talk) 19:16, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Apparently MLK used this quote in several speeches. See his speech at Glenville High School on April 26, 1967. You can read the transcript of the speech here: You can listen to the audio of the entire speech (he says the quote at the very end) here: 12:10, 12 Sept 2014 (UTC)

The quote is an adaptation of Isaiah 40:31 (KJV):

    "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; 
     they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

MLK may have first used the quote while speaking at the University of Chicago on April 13, 1956

Major cleanup[edit]

I spent MUCH of the day so far doing cleanup and rearrangements of the article, which I summed up as "strip out 144px specs, fix dates, restore a few images, replace many that were of duplicating other images on the page…remove a few…had to do this in several EXTENSIVE sessions—but finally have what I believe is a reasonably presentable form…" I added at least one quote and a few images, created a section for a speech which had several long quotes, moved sections into a more chronological placement, found replacements for images of King used multiple times, but retained most of what had been captioned by others with other images, and I believe I retained all the images associated with King directly — though I moved some of these into different sections, or applied them to different quotes than others had done. ~ Kalki·· 19:47, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Kalki, the page looks great to me - very nice work! ~ UDScott (talk) 20:09, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I just now spent some time adding a few more wikilinks to it, and might add a few more later, but must be leaving now. ~ Kalki·· 21:55, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Health care quote, 1960s[edit]

That quote looks suspicious, and the source is not good, but it may be legit after all. Would be great if someone who can edit this page can put in this reference, which is far better. --LarsMarius (talk) 13:48, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Done with this edit. --P3Y229 (talk) 22:55, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Possible incorrect citation for "Life's most persistent and urgent question" quote[edit]

There might be an issue with one of the quotes' sources: "An Individual has not started living fully until they can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity. Every person must decide at some point, whether they will walk in light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment: Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"

This quote is cited with ""Conquering Self-Centeredness" Speech in Montgomery, Alabama (August 11, 1957)". I found what appears to be a transcript of the speech -- here -- but I'm not seeing that quote. There is a paragraph that reads: "An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. And this is one of the big problems of life, that so many people never quite get to the point of rising above self. And so they end up the tragic victims of self- centeredness. They end up the victims of distorted and disrupted personality. "

The quote we list on Wikiquote seems to be in line with the spirit of what MLK said in the transcript, but again there's a possibility that it is a misquote or an incorrect citation. --Hebisddave (talk) 22:20, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

I added your concerns with this edit.

Quotes and more[edit]

I keep seeing this quote across the internet of Martin Luther King:

"America was founded on genocide, and a nation that is founded on genocide is destructive."

It seems to come from this interview in USA Today with Professor Michael Eric Dyson.

Anyone know a date for this quote?

Also, there's a number of quotes from the book, Where Do We Go From Here (the 1967 book by Martin Luther King) which have not been added to this page like:

"Why is equality so assidiously avoided? Why does black American delude itself, and how does it rationalize the evil it retains? The majority of white Americans consider themselves to be sincerely committed to justice for the Negro. They believe that American society is essentially hospitable to fair play and to steady growth toward a middle-class Utopia embodying racial harmony. But unfortunately this is a fantasy of self deception and comfortable vanity. Overwhelmingly America is still struggling with irresolution and contradictions."- beginning of part II
"...the practical cost of change for the nation up to this point has been cheap. The limited reforms have been obtained at bargain rates. There are no expenses, and to taxes required for Negroes to share lunch counters, libraries, parks, hotels and other facilities with whites." (also in part II)
"...of employed negroes, 75 percent hold menial jobs...they are a structural part of the economic system in the United States. Certain industries and enterprises are based upon a supply of low-paid under-skilled and immobile nonwhite labor" (later in part II)

Dyson's book has quote that this page isn't include here either:

"...march on poverty until no American parent has to skip a meal so that their children may march on poverty, until no starved man walks the streets of our cities and towns in search of jobs that do not exist."- page 20, top (King in 1965)
"Our nation was born with genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century onward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population."- bottom of page 38 (King, 1965?)
"And you know what, a nation that puts as many Japanese in a concentration camp as they did in the forties...will put black people in a concentration camp. And I'm not interested in being in any concentration camp. I been on a reservation too long now."- top of page 39 (King, 1968)
"I’m sorry to have to say to you that the vast majority of white Americans are racist, either consciously or unconsciously." - Page 40, top (King in 1967)

This site could be a good source for quotes if one can find better sourcing of them.

Common alternate phrasing for "hottest places in Hell"[edit]

"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict" gets 550 entries on Google, so it seems worth listing as a common error. JesseW (talk) 06:15, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important."[edit]

This gets 600 entries on Google and is found in ProQuest's Wall Street Journal archive, so it seems well enough attested to include. JesseW (talk) 19:26, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

"Never, never be afraid to do what's right . . ." Presumably never said or written or thought by MLK Jr.[edit]

All over the internet and in some lousy books one finds attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. the following words: "Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way." I am convinced he never said them. Should an entry on the page be made for this one?

Purslane (talk) 21:29, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Probable ORIGINAL[edit]

This Usenet post (additional archive), from 15 Jan 2006, with Message-Id: YVuyf.2919$2x4.2240@trndny05 , from "penny", contains the full text of the quote, with NO mention of it being a quote, or MLK, or anything of the sort. That strongly suggests it may be the original source, which was later mis-attributed to MLK. JesseW (talk) 05:44, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Undated quote[edit]

Hi, I want to add this quote: "It is impossible to understand the significance of Christ without understanding the whole history of Biblical religion."|.The Eternal Significance of Christ

However, this quote is undated, where should I add it?--Goose friend (talk) 08:57, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Dont add it! PuerileChipmunk408 (talk) 12:58, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
Why not? This quote is taken from an utterly reliable source, it's a note King wrote from his pen.--Goose friend (talk) 19:25, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Quote "Life's most persistent an urgent question" is unsourced.[edit]

Reviving a discussion that was not fully solved. There is quote in the article, in the section "1950s":

  • An Individual has not started living fully until they can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity. Every person must decide at some point, whether they will walk in light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment: Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” —

Supposedly, the source is "Conquering Self-Centeredness" Speech in Montgomery, Alabama (August 11, 1957). However, ig you look into that sermon, youu'll realize that the quote can't be found... King does not say it anywhere.

So this quote is not contained in the source that is given in the article. Another user had already pointed out that this is an incorrect citation., i.e. a misquotation. But someone else just added a little explanation in which a second quote from that text is added and sourced from the same link:

  • “ There's a quote which seems to be in line with the spirit of what MLK said in the foregoing quote, but there's a possibility that it is a misquote or an incorrect citation. The quote reads:
    "An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. And this is one of the big problems of life, that so many people never quite get to the point of rising above self. And so they end up the tragic victims of self-centeredness. They end up the victims of distorted and disrupted personality."
    Source: Conquering Self-centeredness, Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on 11 August 1957 in Montgomery, Alabama; page 3” —

Yet, the first quote is still not found where it says. I haven't been able to find the first quote in any of King's writings, which is really strange. I couldn't find it in The Martin Luther King Paper's Project Research, nor any other reliable source.

If you look for the quote alone at Google Books, you will find many books in which this quote is indeed attributed to MLK, but these results do not give any reference to any original source, as it happens with online results.

If you look for the quote trying to find it out in books authored by King, you'll find three posthumous books, in which, again, no original reference is given.

So I think all this shows that the first quote should be moved to another section. I've rectified myself, and I see that the only reliable book would be Coretta Scott King's The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Second Edition (2011), Ch. "Community of man", page 3. BUT, the quote is undated.

--Goose friend (talk) 19:46, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Quote "I met Malcolm X once in Washington ..." referenced Playboy (January 1965)[edit]

I was reading the section "I met Malcolm X once in Washington, ..." and trying to look up the referenced "Interview in Playboy (January 1965)" which is a bad link now. Luckily Internet Archive has captured the Playboy article and here is a useable link to the reference. May be someone with the authority to edit the Wikiquote page can help fix it. Thanks. K ideas (talk) 06:59, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Done. Thank you very much. I had noticed this but I hadn't been able to find it again. Thank you. Super exciting interview.--Goose friend (talk) 01:57, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Get our check[edit]

"Now, when we come to Washington in this campaign, we are coming to get our check."

--Timeshifter (talk) 11:44, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

Cleanup of some duplication[edit]

I did cleanup and corrections on this on 2017·04·04, organizing it a bit, and eliminating some duplication, but there are still some duplications which I have just noticed. I might attend to more of the problems on the page within the next week or so, but must be leaving soon for most of the day. ~ Kalki·· 11:27, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

...reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance...[edit]

I've seen this one going around lately, and after trying to verify it, I'm thinking it's probably fake. A few websites (goodreads, alternet) cite the source as King's 1967 speech, "Where Do We Go From Here." This speech is available online and contains no such passage. There's a book of the same title. I searched it on google books and again came up empty. Since I don't have a copy of the book, and since it's possible that the passage shows up somewhere else, I don't want to add it to the misattributed section without checking here first. Brijohn6882 (talk) 17:02, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

"Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn."