Collage of mentors and mentees and MLK in center

A Day of Service: Notable Quotes From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the Meaning and Spirit of Service

National Mentoring Month takes place throughout the month of January. But today marks a special day on the national calendar of scheduled events, a day of service dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was all about helping others. He thought so little of the hardships to himself, and truly believed that dedicating his life to others made our world a better place. We dedicate this space to Dr. King, who was so diligent in volunteering his time to the wider community of mankind, and who, through his actions, showed us the meaning and spirit of service.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born January 15th, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. King fought for equal rights for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960’s in the United States. Having experienced racism early on, Dr. King, instead of becoming bitter, spent his life working on behalf of his people. Dr. King led a series of peaceful protests in the south that brought about real change in many laws pertaining to the rights of black people in America. Known by the acronym “MLK,” Dr. King was an incredible orator, with his many speeches inspiring people of every color to be better people.

In 1964, MLK received the Nobel Peace Prize. Four years later, Dr. King was assassinated.

Here are some of some notable Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes to inspire us to ever greater heights in the service of others through volunteer work and mentoring:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

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

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.”

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

“We cannot walk alone.”

“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.”

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

“What are you doing for others?”

“Every now and then I think about my own death, and I think about my own funeral. […] Every now and then I ask myself, ‘What is it that I would want said?’ I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.”

 

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