Government action is not the whole answer to the present crisis, but it is an important partial answer. Morals cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. The law cannot make an employer love me, but it can keep him from refusing to hire me because of the color of my skin.
â€“ Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, ch. II (1958)
Judicial decrees may not change the heart; but they can restrain the heartless.
â€“ Speech, Nashville, Tenn., 27 Dec. 1962
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
â€“ â€œLetter from Birmingham Jail,â€ 16 Apr. 1963
I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
â€“ â€œLetter from Birmingham Jail,â€ 16, Apr. 1963