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10 Life and Wellness Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.’s legacy is so much more than his seminal “I Have a Dream” speech. Yet, every year, on his birthday weekend, that 1963 address is highlighted above his other equally poignant contributions.

Take King’s “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” speech from 1967, where he was critical of the United States’ participation in the Vietnam War at the expense of its poor and disenfranchised.

“We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem,” he remarked.

At that time, “Beyond Vietnam” was credited with helping to transform the public opinion on the Vietnam War.  

As we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, we pause to remember his advocacy of holistic health and wellness.

Through the 10 quotes that follow, we can see that he ultimately fought for the sanctity of human life.

On Wellness and Justice

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”

On Living and Building Community

“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

“Hate is just as injurious to the hater as it is to the hated. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Many of our inner conflicts are rooted in hate. This is why psychiatrists say, “Love or perish.” Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.”

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

On Love and Spiritual Wellness

“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

“You know, a lot of people don’t love themselves. And they go through life with deep and haunting emotional conflicts. So the length of life means that you must love yourself. And you know what loving yourself also means? It means that you’ve got to accept yourself.”

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

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