Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Loving Your Enemies (1957 speech) and included in King's book Strength to Love (1963)
tagged: hate, love, vengeance

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More from Martin Luther King Jr.

Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 16 April 1963

We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.

'Letter from Birmingham Jail' in Why We Can't Wait 1963.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.

Stride Towards Freedom
Often paraphrased as "One who condones evils is just as guilty as the one who perpetrates it."

A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.

Strength to Love (1963)

We will speed the day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing … “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.”