The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 23, 2017


Students, faculty, and staff members share quotes that exemplify the vision and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during assembly.

Coordinated by Shattuck-St. Mary’s Diversity Club, the following quotes were shared by SSM students, faculty, and staff members in recognition of the legacy and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during an assembly on Friday, January 20.


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and conveniences, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”

- Toni Morrison

“Hate has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet.”

- Maya Angelou 

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

- Nelson Mandela

“If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed, but hate these things in yourself, not in another.”

- Mahatma Gandhi

“Darkness can’t drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate can’t drive out hate; only love can do that”

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

– Rosa Parks

“The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.”

- Oprah Winfrey

“The media is the most powerful entity on Earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

- Malcolm X

“I felt most proud of the success of the Apollo mission. They were going to the moon and I computed the path to get there.”

- Katherine Johnson

“Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.”

- Langston Hughes

“The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away.”

- Joy J. Golliver

“I tell my students, it’s not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What’s more difficult is to identify with someone you don’t see, who’s very far away, who’s a different color, who eats a different kind of food.”
- Chinua Achebe

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me, the things that tormented me the most were the very things that connected me to all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”

- James Baldwin

“That Justice is a blind goddess

Is a thing to which we black are wise:

Her bandage hides two festering sores

That once perhaps were eyes.”

- Langston Hughes

“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody - a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns - bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”

- Thurgood Marshall 

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I can no longer accept.”

- Angela Davis

“The truth is, no one of us can be free until everybody is free.”

-Maya Angelou

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’”

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“If you can’t find something to live for, find something to die for.”

– Tupac Shakur

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”

-Michael Jordan

“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.”

- Kobe Bryant

“The caterpillar is a prisoner to the streets that conceived it.

Its only job is to eat or consume everything around it, in order to protect itself from this mad city.

While consuming its environment the caterpillar begins to notice ways to survive.

One thing it noticed is how much the world shuns him, but praises the butterfly.

The butterfly represents the talent, the thoughtfulness, and the beauty within the caterpillar.

But having a harsh outlook on life the caterpillar sees the butterfly as weak and figures out a way to pimp it to his own benefits.

Already surrounded by this mad city the caterpillar goes to work on the cocoon which institutionalizes him.

He can no longer see past his own thoughts.

He’s trapped.

When trapped inside these walls certain ideas take roots, such as going home, and bringing back new concepts to this mad city

The result?

Wings begin to emerge, breaking the cycle of feeling stagnant.

Finally free, the butterfly sheds light on situations that the caterpillar never considered, ending the internal struggle.

Although the butterfly and caterpillar are completely different, they are one and the same.” 

- Kendrick Lamar

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

- Malcolm X

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

- Nelson Mandela

“To appreciate the sun, you gotta know what rain is.”

- J Cole

“Just like moons and like suns, with the certainty of tides, just like hope springing high, still I’ll rise.”

- Maya Angelou

“One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.”

- Franklin Thomas

“I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of things I’m not proud of, but it’s only for other people to learn from.”

- Allen Iverson

“I’m asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours. I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written: Yes, we can.”

- Barack Obama

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.”

- Asa Philip Randolph

“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”

- Thurgood Marshall, first African American on the U.S. Supreme Court

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”

- Jackie Robinson

“It is easy to do evil things, easy to harm oneself. To do what is good, what is good for oneself, is very difficult.”

-Kathleen Collins

“Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it, showcase it and you’ll start believing in it.”

- Jesse Owens

“The time is always right to do what’s right.”

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“By any means necessary.”

- Malcolm X

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

- Barack Obama

The instructor said,

Go home and write a

page tonight.

And let that page come out of you—

Then, it will be true.

I wonder if it’s that simple?

I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.

I went to school there, then Durham, then here

To this college on the hill above Harlem.

I am the only colored student in my class.

The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem.

through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,

Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,

the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator

up to my room, sit down, and write this page:

It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me

at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:

hear you, hear me— we two— you, me, talk on this page.

(I hear New York too.) Me—who?

Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.

I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.

I like a pipe for a Christmas present,

or records— Bessie, bop, or Bach.

I guess being colored doesn’t make me NOT like

the same things other folks like who are other races.

So will my page be colored that I write?

Being me, it will not be white.

But it will be

a part of you, instructor.

You are white–

yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.

That’s American.

Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.

Nor do I often want to be a part of you.

But we are, that’s true!

As I learn from you,

I guess you learn from me–

although you’re older–and white–

and somewhat more free.

This is my page for English B.

- Langston Hughes

  • News Image