Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at an interfaith civil rights rally at California’s Cow Palace on June 30, 1964. Photo by George Conklin under Creative Commons.

Although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was once ranked By Gallup as the second most admired person of the 20th century, some of his more pointed critiques of capitalism and white supremacy remain unmentioned on the day that commemorates his legacy. 

Because of this, we sometimes see praise for King coming from individuals who may not fully understand his philosophy.

Here are six of his quotes that don’t get as much as play in American discourse. 

“Why is equality so assiduously avoided? Why does white America delude itself, and how does it rationalize the evil it retains?”

Where Do We Go From Here” (1967)

“When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

A Revolution of Values” (1967)

“If peace means a willingness to be exploited economically, dominated politically, humiliated and segregated, I don’t want peace. If peace means being complacently adjusted to a deadening status quo, I don’t want peace. If peace means keeping my mouth shut in the midst of injustice and evil, I don’t want it. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but the existence of justice for all people.”

When Peace Becomes Obnoxious” (1956) 

“Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice.”  

“Where Do We Go From Here” (1967)

“There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.”

Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution” (1968)

“And the price that America must pay for the continued oppression of the Negro and other minority groups is the price of its own destruction.”

The American Dream” (1965)

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