Tag: inspiring

MLK Martin Luther King Jr. Speech Washington Memorial Reflecting Pool speech i have a dream

10 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes to Make You Take Action

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is likely one of the most inspiring things you can read. As the title suggests, King wrote it in jail, and it is essentially a treatise in defense of nonviolent direct action. More broadly, it’s about doing something instead of nothing. It’s a call to action for anybody who sees anything wrong happening. It was written to rally clergymen to King’s cause, to convince them of the righteousness of breaking unjust laws.


It’s easy enough to find inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. quotes, so I chose specifically from his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Hopefully, after you’ve read some of these excerpts, you’ll be motivated to read the letter in its entirety here.


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


2. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.


3. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.


4. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.


5. 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.


6. We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.”


7. Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.


8. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will.


9. So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?


10. Never before have I written so long a letter. I’m afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?



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Anne Frank

10 Anne Frank Quotes That’ll Remind You Not to Let Go of Your Ideals

Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl is one of those required books everybody reads at a young age and you never hear anybody complaining about. It’s obviously emotional, but it’s also surprisingly uplifting and humorous. She showed such wisdom at such a young age, and her idealism in the face of cruel Naziism can give anyone a reason to keep their chin up.


Anne Frank’s diary is rightfully required reading, and should be required re-reading and re-re-reading. But in the situation that a re-reading has thus far eluded you, here are some of the most insightful thoughts that Anne Frank left us.


1. I’ve found that there is always some beauty left—in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you.


2. I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.


3. People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but that doesn’t stop you from having your own opinion.


4. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.


5. In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.


6. Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.


7. Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.


8. You can be lonely even when you are loved by many people, since you are still not anybody’s one and only.


9. I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.


10. It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.


Anne Frank

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Breakfast Club

11 Quotes I Wish I’d Read in High School

Have you ever found yourself struggling in the depths of the deep end, unsure of how much longer you can hold your breath? Then, out of nowhere, someone jumps into the deep end with you, mouths some words at you through bubbles, and in an instant you remember how to swim back up to the surface. You may have experienced this feeling while still at school. Homework stack growing, teachers piling on pressure, tests being forgotten, and no time for you to be a teenager. Sometimes all we need is a few words of advice. Here are eleven quotes from authors you’ll wish you’d read back in school.


mom im scared

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1. “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein


2. “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. That is a power you can cultivate.” – Elizabeth Gilbert


3. “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” – Ernest Hemingway


4. “Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” – Helen Keller


5. “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” – T.S. Eliot


6. “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” – Aristotle


7. “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem


8. “Every time you look in the mirror and your heart races because you think, “I’m so f**cking rad,” that’s self protection. Protect yourself.” – Inga Muscio


9. “Power is given only to those who dare to lower themselves and pick it up. Only one thing matters, one thing; to be able to dare!” – Fyodor Dostoevsky


10. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss


11. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde



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Do you feel better yet?


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The Wanderer Above the Clouds romantic painting

10 Moments From Romantic Poetry That’ll Make You Feel Sublime

The Romantic poets have a special place in every English major’s heart. John Keats was a young genius taken too early by consumption. Lord Byron was a complicated womanizer, equally disdained and adored. Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley were the young couple at the center. The old William Wordsworth cantankerously loved flowers. William Blake was off in his cottage hallucinating.


The cast of characters were eclectic, but all were unified in their deep appreciation for the sublime. The magnitude of nature, the universe, and man’s small stature in relation filled them with awe. It didn’t send them into existential despair. Instead, it made them tear up. Looking up to the immersive night sky, it was less a reminder of humanity’s impermanence and more of a cozy blanket of stars to get lost in. Though today’s romantics tend to worship writers like Nicholas Sparks, let’s not forget the Romantics of old. Here are some of their most moving excerpts.



1. I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.


“A Poison Tree,” William Blake



2. These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;


“Tintern Abbey,” William Wordsworth



3. At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God’s name.


“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” Samuel Taylor Coleridge



4. She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:


“She walks in beauty,” Lord Byron



5. And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the fairy power
Of unreflecting love;—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.


“When I have fears that I may cease to be,” John Keats



6. I hid my love in field and town
Till e’en the breeze would knock me down.
The bees seemed singing ballads o’er
The fly’s buzz turned a lion’s roar;


“Song,” John Clare



7. Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:


“Kubla Khan,” Samuel Taylor Coleridge



8. Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!


“Ode to a Nightingale,” John Keats



9. The mangled dead 
And dying victims then pollute the flood.
Ah! thus man spoils Heaven’s glorious works with blood!


“The Sea View,” Charlotte Smith



10. My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


“Ozymandias,” Percy Bysshe Shelley


John Keats

John Keats. | Image Via Wikipedia


Feature Image Via Wikipedia | “Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog” by Caspar David Friedrich

Truesdell's Book Club

The Most Popular Club in This School Is a Book Club for Fifth-Grade Boys

Truesdell Education Campus can’t keep its most popular books stocked. Boys crowd the library before the morning bell, students read in class instead of paying attention to their teachers. And it’s all because of a book club. 


With the help of one of their administrators, ten fifth-grade boys started a book club at the school in Washington, D.C.’s Brightwood neighborhood, and it’s quickly become the most popular club on campus. The school staff struggles to keep up with their students’ book demand.


“The books that we read here, we can relate to,” said 11-year-old Devon Wesley. The book club has allowed Devon and other students to find black characters—characters who look like them.


The club began when a fifth-grader complained about his less-than-stellar results on a citywide English exam. He felt the grade he received did not reflect his reading abilities. His principal, Mary Ann Stinson, gave him a book and told him to start reading. The book was Bad Boy: A Memoir, by Walter Dean Myers. 


Bad Boy, a memoir

Image Via Amazon


Michael Redmond, the assistant principal, saw the interaction and suggested a few boys read the book together. They quickly became enthralled by the book, which focused on Myers’ childhood in Harlem. By the end of the day, other students spotted the trio with the book and asked Redmond if there were any additional copies. There weren’t, so he ordered more copies and helped his students organize an all-male book club, which accepted the first ten students who were interested in extra reading and discussions outside of school hours.


Redmond, whose dissertation focused on the educational advancement of minority boys, said he remembered being aware that people didn’t expect boys of color to be readers. He wanted to destroy that stereotype for his students. 


“What a beautiful thing, for teachers to be able to see boys who look like this be so into reading,” Redmond said. “We did not imagine that kids would be this serious about reading and about doing something that we didn’t ask them to do.”


Redmond and the boys meet at 8:15am once or twice a week and use the book to begin conversations about their own experiences with race, identity, and adolescence. At last week’s book club, Redmond led the boys in a discussion about a specific line in Bad Boy, where the protagonist says, “I prefer not to be seen as black,” because he didn’t want his accomplishments to be seen as “Negro accomplishments.”


“He wrote that line not because he was ashamed of being black, but why?” asked Redmond.


“Because you can be smart, not because you’re black, but because you’re smart, period,” said 10-year-old Kemari Starks, an aspiring zoologist who finished the 200 page book in just two days.


The club is moving onto its second book, Monster, another Myers novel, this time about a teenager on trial for murder. Most of the boys said they’ve already finished the book. “In our classes, there are way less interesting books, and these books are way more interesting. These books are about people.”


The book club is already changing the reading culture around campus, and Steve Aupperle, Truesdell’s vice principal in charge of literacy, suspects it’s boosting the students’ reading levels. The book club reads books intended for seventh and eighth graders.


“They are now seeing that reading is amazing and, through reading, you can find people to relate to,” Aupperle said. “That’s what reading is.”


“It’s a blessing to be in this predicament, to have kids who are becoming ravenous readers,” Redmond said. “We’re disrupting the notion of what public education can be and what little black boys can do and be.”


Featured Image Via The Washington Post.