Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr: Three Great Speeches

Something is happening in Memphis; something is happening in our world. And you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of taking a kind of general and panoramic view of the whole of 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…Greece…Roman Empire…the Renaissance…I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating President by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. But I wouldn’t stop there…Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, “If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy.”

An excerpt from I’ve Been to the Mountaintop by Martin Luther King, Jr

MondaMartin Luther King Jr NYWTSy, January 17th is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day in the United States. It’s a federal holiday to honor this great leader and his leadership in the “second half of the 20th century” in the Civil Rights Movement.

King was an amazing, inspirational orator. Fortunately, many of his speeches are online today for us to view.  To remember him and to look back at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, we’ve posted three of these videos below.

“I Have a Dream”

Perhaps his most famous speech, it was delivered in Washington, DC,  August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. King was there participating in the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march and “I Have a Dream” are believed to be instrumental in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Here is a video showing the full 17 minute speech:

>>Full Text of  I Have a Dream

“How Long? Not Long!” (also known as “Our God is Marching On”)

Martin Luther King shared “How Long? Not Long!” on the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, after finishing the Selma to Montgomery March on March 25, 1965.

Below is an excerpt:

>>Full Text of How Long? Not Long!

“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”

King gave this speech at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 3, 1968. The next day he was assassinated. “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” was the last speech given by Martin Luther King.

Here’s an excerpt:

>>Full Text of I’ve Been to the Mountaintop

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. 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!

An excerpt from I’ve Been to the Mountaintop by Martin Luther King, Jr

Thank you, Reverend King.