2 Money Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King

Posted by Nailah Herbert in Black EconomicsJanuary 20, 2020(Last Updated December 30, 2022)2 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought vigorously to give African-Americans equality regarding civil rights, education, politics, and economics.
  • He was also known to give out financial lessons.
  • Two of his financial lessons were Freedom is worth more than money, and the economic quality gap must be closed.
Are you ready to make some real money moves?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought vigorously to give African-Americans equality regarding civil rights, education, politics, and economics. Dr. King is a legendary figure in the world of civil rights and beyond.


Here are two financial lessons from his public works.


Freedom is worth more than money 


"There is nothing in all the world greater than freedom. It is worth paying for; it is worth going to jail for. I would rather be a free pauper than a rich slave. I would rather die in abject poverty with my convictions than live in inordinate riches with the lack of self-respect." 

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 



About 155 years ago, on December 18, 1865, the 13th Amendment officially abolished slavery. The "free" status of African-Americans has since been violated or severely tested. 


The constant fight for freedom for Black people in America led to the civil rights movement in the 1960s, where Dr. King became a prominent figure in standing up for the rights of Black people. His efforts sparked political, social, and economic change amongst Black people.


Although Dr. King's life was tragically cut short, his legacy lives through the lives and hearts of many today. He taught us the value of freedom and the importance of fighting for better opportunities.


I’ve learned that having financial freedom is significant in my life because it allows me the privilege of time. Before, I would have to work a 9-5 job where I would trade my time for money. Even though I was not too fond of the job, I had to go every day because of the need for money, and this would, in turn, cause me significant stress and depression.  


I didn't learn about financial literacy in school, so I had to learn about money (saving, budgeting, ownership, investing, etc.) on my own. Once I learned more about financial literacy, I was able to create a lifestyle for myself that I want without having to depend on a job. Now, I use my money as a tool and resource not solely to pay bills and live paycheck to paycheck


We must bridge the economic quality gap


It's no secret that White Americans have accumulated more wealth than Black and Latino Americans. Economic equality was and is still a constant fight, and we must bridge the financial gap. Closing the wealth gap doesn’t happen overnight. It will take significant policy change, but here are two ways that you can use the resources that are available to you to make change.


Educate yourself about finances.

The more you learn, the better your finances become, and the more you can teach others about financial literacy. 


Be a voice for the voiceless.

If you are noticing unfair treatment in your workplace, school system, or another place of business, you can speak up. Your voice is powerful and you can use it to incite change, just as Dr. King did.


Main image and thumbnail: Science History Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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