It reads: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
King was a Christian minister, a powerful orator and a leader of the US civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Quotes from his speeches, sermons and books are often shared online. Former US president Barack Obama shared this particular quote on Facebook in 2015.
But does it come from King? Yes.
Quote in 1963 book by King
The quote can be found in Strength to Love, a collection of King’s writing published in 1963.
It’s on page 37 of the 1963 Harper & Row edition of the book.
The fuller passage reads: “Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is fairly obvious. 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. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness implies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.” – Butchie Seroto
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