Ah, a nice softball question. You sure know how to keep me on my toes!
Since I was in grade school or junior high, I’ve kept a running list of my favorite quotes. Every time I hear or read a good one, I add it to my list.
When I read your question about Martin Luther King, Jr. (“MLK”), I consulted my list and found four quotes from him that I’ve notated over the years. I’ll start this answer by sharing each of those with you and telling you what it means to me, specifically with regard to MLK’s legacy.
THE DRUM MAJOR INSTINCT
“We all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade … And the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct … It is a good instinct if you don’t distort it and pervert it. Don’t give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.”