Thursday, January 17, 2013


We’ve arrived at Dr. King’s birthday, the spark for this post. Check out one of his lesser-known statements, below.

“Power at its best is love implementing
 the demands of justice,
and justice at its best is power correcting

that stands against love.”
In my humble opinion, a measure of the eloquence and elegance of that thought is the focus on assessing the best of both attributes, but I digress.
The word justice appeared in English in the 1100s. It came through Old French, from the Latin word iustitia, meaning, righteousness or equity.
Most early English uses of the word applied to a person playing the role of judge, much as we might use the term today to refer to members of the Supreme Court. It wasn’t until the late 1300s that the meaning equity became popular. 

The word justice has relations in Old French, Latin & English in the words juste, iustus & just. Some of their shades of meaning include:

righteous in the eyes of God,
law, &
In honor of Dr. King, please leave a thought in the comments section. Comment on the quote, or mention some injustice that needs addressing in this world of ours, or better yet, explain some actions you are involved in which promote justice.

My thanks go out to Sharif Ezzat for the image of Dr. King & to this week’s sources The OED, Write Spirit & Etymonline.


  1. What a brilliant, powerful quote. Thanks for helping us remember Dr. King with some of his lesser known--but most insightful--words.

  2. I love the quote...I hate cruelty to any living thing...I wish we would all just say one kind thing to someone a day!

  3. What a great quote. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Ahoy Anne, Patty & Stacey,
    Thanks for coming by. One must wonder whether Dr. King, while eating his Cheerios in the morning was spouting inspirational, mindblowing sentences while the rest of us are still in morning Neanderthal mode. Patty, your idea of fighting injustice by saying one kind thing to someone each day could have huge repercussions - the sort of repercussions I like.

  5. I love that quote. I can't help but think of marriage inequality when I read the words "correcting everything that stands against love," even though I'm sure that's not what Dr. King had in mind.

  6. This thought-provoking and humbling quote makes me wonder what other gems are in Dr. Martin Luther King's writings...and makes me wonder what our world would be like had he not been killed so young. Would that we all could share a portion of his wisdom and that those who spend their energy in negativity could do a 180 about face, and put that energy into positive actions. I, myself, commit random acts of kindness and mercy whenever I can. All it takes is one candle, then another, then another...

  7. Hi Susan & All,
    Susan, thanks for those random acts, & I agree about Dr. King. When searching for a lesser known quote I ran into gem upon gem upon gem. I had a similar experience at the FDR Memorial - FDR & MLK were incredible thinkers & writers/speakers with the good of us all in their hearts & words. And All, I'm with you on the fight toward justice when it comes to marriage. Dr. King was a forward thinker, so who knows what he might have said about marriage for all. After reading a bunch of his words this last week, I'm convinced that were he alive today, he'd be marching with the rest of us for marriage equality - probably leading the march.

  8. Great quote. It's part of all religious creed that love overcomes and to love your enemy but it is easier said than done. Dr. King was a great example of leading through love.

  9. yes, a great quote from a great and brave man. However, I have had difficulty with the word "justice" since I found out, long ago, that it has little to do with law, despite its linkage with law. Our adversarial system of "justice" is merely a game played to determine the outcome of conflicts.

  10. Reminds me of another quote "There will be peace when the power of love overcomes the love of power." -Jimi Hendrix. And, "Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public” ― Cornel West. Love that one.

  11. Hey Christine,
    Cornel West is a brilliant (though intractable) man, & that's a stunning quote. Steve, after having served on juries, I couldn't agree more, & Pragmatic Mom, thanks for popping by & having good things to say about leading through love.

  12. What an inspiring quote. I'd like it if we all (including me) remembered that all human beings are deserving of love- no matter how broken we are. The news here is full of the terrorist attack in Algeria and the bodies coming home, and I want to send my love to all involved. No justice with hate.

  13. I haven't seen this King quote before and it's beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I love the image of power used to correct everything that stands against love. Yes!

  14. Great post! Like some of the others above, that quote is new to me. It's quite beautiful. I really like the idea of connecting love with power. I think love (and its power) is a topic often overlooked in classroom discussions these days.

  15. Greetings Katrina, Megan & Perogyo,
    Thanks so much for dropping by & sharing in our group-think on justice & the power of love. It's good to have you here.