What Are Some Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes That Inspire Young People?

Several quotes from Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech are inspirational to young people, most notably the dream he expresses about his children’s future. Many of his quotes reflect his belief that any individual can make a difference, regardless of race, age or education.

King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered during the August 1963 March on Washington, marked a new era of nonviolent protest in the fight against racial injustice. Schoolchildren across America have read or heard King’s famous speech, but of all the powerful ideas he expresses, students most often remember this line: “I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Young people in King’s time hoped that they too would one day live in that world, and young people today might reflect on how the world has changed for the better since the civil rights movement.

In other speeches and writings, King constantly emphasized the importance of the small, for example: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way,” or, “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.” These quotes are an encouragement to young people who otherwise may not feel as if they have the power to make a difference.