E-mail this page E-mail this



Do Not Rejoice in the Death of One


Claim:   Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said he "will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy."
 
FALSE

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, May 2011]

A number of people have been circulated the following quote, in response to Osama Bin Laden's death: "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. 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." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

I'm also seeing alot of commentary that this quote is fake and MLK did not say it. Did he say it ?
 

Origins:   This purported quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., expressing his viewpoint that he would
not rejoice in the death of anyone, even an enemy, was widely circulated in the wake of the killing of terrorist Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces in May 2011.

The last three sentences are a genuine King quote from his book Strength to Love, but the sentiment expressed in the first sentence was from Facebook user Jessica Dovey, who buttressed her own thought with remarks from Dr. King that were appropriately set off by quotation marks and identified as his. Somewhere in transmission around the online world, the quotation marks were misplaced, leaving the entire passage to be mistaken as the words of Dr. King.

Last updated:   19 January 2014

Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2014 by snopes.com.
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.