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A half century after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s death, we still reflect on the crucial role he played in the Civil Rights Movement. King’s life has been interpreted in new ways by successive generations of scholars, many of whom have drawn attention to the crucial role of local black leaders in the African American protest movements of the 1950s and ’60s. Studies of King continue to acknowledge his distinctive leadership role. For example, though he often downplayed his contribution to the Montgomery bus boycott, King’s inspirational leadership and his speeches helped to transform a local protest over bus seating into a historically important event.

More generally, studies of King have suggested that his most significant contribution to the modern African American freedom struggle was to link black aspirations to transcendent, widely shared democratic and Christian ideals. While helping grassroots leaders mobilize African Americans for sustained mass struggles, he inspired participants to believe that their cause was just and consistent with traditional American egalitarian values.

King also appealed to the consciences of all Americans, thus building popular support for civil rights reform. His strategy of emphasizing nonviolent protest and interracial cooperation enabled him to fight effectively against the Southern system of legalized racial segregation and discrimination, but it also proved inadequate during his final years as he sought to overcome racial and economic problems that were national in scope. Remembering the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, here are 50 quotes that continue to touch, movie and inspire us today:

1: “If i cannot do great things, i can do small things in a great way.”

2: “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…”

3: “Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.

4: “The time is always right to do what is right”

5: “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.”

6: “Use me, God. Show me how to take who i am who i want to be, and what i can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”

7: “Your ignorance is their power.”

8: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things.”

9: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in time of challenge and controversy.”

10: “Almost always the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”

11: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the full staircase.”

12: “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.”

13: “Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.”

14: “To be great, you have to be willing to be mocked, hated and misunderstood stay strong.”

15: “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

16: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but by all means keep moving.”

17: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

18: “I’ve decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

19: “The time is always right to do what is right.”

20: “Courage is the power of the mind to overcome the fear.”

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

22: “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

23: “Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love wear.”

24: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?”

25: “Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.”

26: “If i cannot do great things i can do small things in a great way.”

27: “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.

28: “The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.”