Here Is The Speech Martin Luther King Jr Gave The Night Before He Died
Thank you very kindly, my friends. As I listened to Ralph Abernathy in his eloquent and generous introduction and then thought about myself, I wondered who he was talking about. Its always good to have your closest friend and associate say something good about you. And Ralph is the best friend that I have in the world.
Im delighted to see each of you here tonight in spite of a storm warning. You reveal that you are determined to go on anyhow. Something is happening in Memphis, something is happening in our world.
As you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of general and panoramic view of the whole human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in? I would take my mental flight by Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldnt stop there. I would move on by Greece, and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality.
If something isnt done, and in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed.
When people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.
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The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?”
We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.
We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.
We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.
We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”
We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.
No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream today.
Naacp And Sclc Center The March On Civil Rights
As the years passed on, the Civil Rights Act was still stalled in Congress, and equality for Americans of color still seemed like a far-fetched dream.
Randolph, his chief aide, Bayard Rustin, and Dr. King all decided it would be best to combine the two causes into one mega-march, the March for Jobs and Freedom.
NAACP, headed by Roy Wilkins, was called upon to be one of the leaders of the march.
As one of the largest and most influential civil rights groups at the time, our organization harnessed the collective power of its members, organizing a march that was focused on the advancement of civil rights and the actualization of Dr. King’s dream.
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‘i Have A Dream’ Speech Legacy
Remembered for its powerful imagery and its repetition of a simple and memorable phrase, Kings I Have a Dream speech has endured as a signature moment of the civil rights struggle, and a crowning achievement of one of the movements most famous faces.
The Library of Congress added the speech to the National Recording Registry in 2002, and the following year the National Park Service dedicated an inscribed marble slab to mark the spot where King stood that day.
In 2016, Time included the speech as one of its 10 greatest orations in history.
Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break The Silence Riverside Church In New York City On April 4 1967
King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” is well known because of the debate it sparked. He gave the anti-Vietnam speech when the country still supported the war. King received extreme backlash, especially for attempting to unite the peace movement with the Civil Rights Movement. The reverend’s controversial views caused him to lose many supporters, including African American followers. Many say this is the speech that made him a target, as he was assassinated exactly one year later.
“We are taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them 8,000 miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in Southwest Georgia and East Harlem,” he said the speech.
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First Amendment News And Insights From Mtsu
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preaches to his congregation in Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on April 30, 1967, as he urges America to repent and abandon what he called its “tragic, reckless adventure in Vietnam.” AP Photo
On this Martin Luther King Day, 2023, the Free Speech Center remembers and honors an American hero, a man who, despite all the odds against him, peacefully exercised his First Amendment freedoms to worship, speak, write, assemble, and petition. His aim? To help bring about justice and civil rights in the United States for all men and women.
In his final speech before his assassination in April 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to the First Amendment directly in what has come to be known as his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech:
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Mahalia Jackson Prompts Mlk: ‘tell ’em About The Dream Martin’
Around the halfway point of the speech, Mahalia Jackson implored him to Tell em about the Dream, Martin. Whether or not King consciously heard, he soon moved away from his prepared text.
Repeating the mantra, I have a dream, he offered up hope that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character and the desire to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
And when this happens, he bellowed in his closing remarks, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of Gods children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’
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Ive Been To The Mountaintop Memphis Tennessee On April 3 1968
Just one day before he was assassinated, King gave his final speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” He gave the speech to a packed church of workers protesting working conditions. In the talk, the reverend emphasized his main beliefs: unifying African Americans and the importance of nonviolent protests.
But the speech is most known for being oddly prophetic, seeming to predict his death just the next day, highlighting the fact that he has accepted his fate.
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now,” King said in his final speech. “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. Like anybody I would like to live a long life, longevity has its place but I’m not concerned about that now … And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”
He ended the speech with: “I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
Jerry Falwell Jr Asks Judge To Toss Sex Suit Says Racy Photos Are ‘out Of Context’
Its a relief, Falwell told the News & Advance in Lynchburg, Va. where, until this week, the evangelical powerhouse headed Liberty University.
The quote that keeps going through my mind this morning is Martin Luther King Jr: Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty Im free at last.
King famously delivered the line during his historic I Have a Dream speech during the civil rights March on Washington in August 1963.
Falwell said the affair was brief and he was not involved.
Then the former pool boy, Giancarlo Granda, claimed that not only had the affair lasted years, but Falwell knew about it and even watched as the illicit pair had sex. Granda denied extorting anyone.
Falwell had already been on leave from his university position when the scandal broke over a photo of him with his arm around a pregnant woman and his pants open. He has said it was just a joke.
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Acceptance Speech At Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony December 10 1964
In 1964, King was 35 years old and the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. At the time of his honor, it had been a year since his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and the country just passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Along with the honor, he was given $54,600, which he donated to the movement.
Here’s a snippet of his acceptance speech:
“I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle, and to a movement which has not yet won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize,” King said. “After contemplation, I conclude that this award, which I receive on behalf of that movement, is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.”
At the end of his speech, he called peace “more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.”
I Have A Dream Speech Text
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the , they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.
This note was a promise that all men, yes, Black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
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A March 20 Years In The Making
In 1941, A. Phillip Randolph first conceptualized a “march for jobs” in protest of the racial discrimination against African Americans from jobs created by WWII and the New Deal programs created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The march was stalled, however, after negotiations between Roosevelt and Randolph prompted the establishment of the Fair Employment Practice Committee and an executive order banning discrimination in defense industries.
The FEPC dissolved just five years later, causing Randolph to revive his plans. He looked to the charismatic Dr. King to breathe new life into the march.
Montgomery Bus Boycott Speech Montgomery Alabama On December 5 1955
When Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus, she sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and gave King one of his first opportunities to make a public speech. It was in this speech that he introduced some of his now-famous ideas, including nonviolent protests.
“Now let us go out to stick together and stay with this thing until the end,” King said in the speech. “Now it means sacrificing, yes, it means sacrificing at points. But there are some things that we’ve got to learn to sacrifice for. And we’ve got to come to the point that we are determined not to accept a lot of things that we have been accepting in the past.”
The speech catapulted the reverend into the national spotlight and made him one of the front-runners in the Civil Rights Movement.
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A Quarter Million People And A Dream
On August 28, 1963, more than a quarter million people participated in the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, gathering near the Lincoln Memorial.
More than 3,000 members of the press covered this historic march, where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the exalted “I Have a Dream” speech.
Originally conceived by renowned labor leader A. Phillip Randolph and Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the NAACP, the March on Washington evolved into a collaborative effort amongst major civil rights groups and icons of the day.
Stemming from a rapidly growing tide of grassroots support and outrage over the nation’s racial inequities, the rally drew over 260,000 people from across the nation.
Celebrated as one of the greatest if not the greatest speech of the 20th century, Dr. King’s celebrated speech, “I Have a Dream,” was carried live by television stations across the country. You can read the full speech and watch a short film, below.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr August 28 1963 Lincoln Memorial In Washington Dc
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down inhistory as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the historyof our nation.
Five score years ago a great American in whose symbolic shadowwe stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Thismomentous decree came as a great beckoning light of hope tomillions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames ofwithering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the longnight of their captivity.
But one hundred years later the Negro is still not free. Onehundred years later the life of the Negro is still sadly crippledby the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.
One hundred years later the Negro lives on a lonely island ofpoverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.
One hundred years later the Negro is still languishing in thecomers of American society and finds himself in exile in his ownland.
We all have come to this hallowed spot to remind America ofthe fierce urgency of now. Now is the time to rise from the darkand desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racialjustice. Now is the time to change racial injustice to the solidrock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice ring out forall of God’s children.
There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America untilthe Negro is granted citizenship rights.
So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrowI still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Americandream.
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Reflecting on his life that stormy night in Memphis, King considered a panoramic view of the past. If God asked him what period in history he would like to live in, King thought about visiting Egypt and witnessing his people cross the Red Sea. He imagined going to Greece and visiting Mt. Olympus where he could see the great philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon.
But, he said, he would not stop there. He would also visit the Roman Empire, the Renaissance period and seek out Martin Luther as he tacked his ninety-five theses on the door at the church of Wittenberg. Again, King would not stop there, he would move on to the United States in the year 1863 when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Finally, he asked God to allow him to see some of the second half of the 20th century. It was to be his final sermon. The next day, he was shot dead.
Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images
From my mountaintop, I see a generation of children who want the equality King dreamed of and a world where justice stamps out hatred, bigotry and poverty. On my mountaintop, I cannot help but acknowledge the storms weve made it through and give thanks for the lessons learned along the way. From King, I recognize that in order to enjoy the view from the top, we cannot bypass the struggle it took to get there. King had been to the mountaintop and he was hopeful for a better tomorrow.