Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word. It is the word "maladjusted." Now we all should seek to live a well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities. But there are some things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon you to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things.
from The Power of Non-Violence June 4, 1957 (full text available at http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1131 )
The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.
Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? 1967
Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten. A society is always eager to cover misdeeds with a cloak of forgetfulness, but no society can fully repress an ugly past when the ravages persist into the present. America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay.
Where Do We Go from Here : Chaos or Community? 1967
Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.
Speech at the Episcopal National Cathedral, Washington D.C. March 31 1968
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Strength to Love, 1963
True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring
Speech at Riverside Church in New York City April 4, 1967
Don't let anybody make you think God chose America as his divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with justice and it seems I can hear God saying to America "you are too arrogant, and if you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I will place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't even know my name.
Address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference August 16 1967
Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
Strength to Love, 1963
Building a snow fort in the park
Here in the trendy east village, even the trees accessorize