19 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes About Leadership That Will Inspire You

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

On Jan. 15, 2018, the world will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and remember one of the most influential voices in the fight for equality during the Civil Rights Movement. In 2018, 40 years after his death, Martin Luther King Jr.'s quotes and speeches are still just as relevant as they were in the '50s and '60s — and deeply important to share while commemorating the life of Dr. King.

King's life was cut short when he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, but the impact he made during his time as an activist and Baptist minister during the '50s and '60s is unparalleled. The world is still plagued by inequality and racism nearly 40 years after his death, but Dr. King's influence and work during the Civil Rights Movement still paves the way for citizens to fight back against hate and bigotry.

There is no question that Dr. King was born a natural leader. He had the power to motivate and inspire, as well as bring people together. Long after he was murdered, Dr. King's words still resonate with people and encourage the next generation of leaders to stand up for equality and justice. Read on for Dr. King's most inspiring quotes about leadership that will inspire you to fight for a better world for all.

1. "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."

2. "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

3. "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

4. "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

5. "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

6. "So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?"

7. "Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase."

8. "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

9. "The time is always right to do the right thing."

10. "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right."

11. "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."

12. "If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way."

13. "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."

14. "No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they'd die for."

15. "Lightning makes no sound until it strikes."

16. "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."

17. "Only in the darkness can you see the stars."

18. "No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."

19. "We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers."