“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” – Martin Luther King Jr. (April 3, 1968)

“‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’ is the popular name of the last speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr.King spoke on April 3, 1968, at the Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ Headquarters) in Memphis, Tennessee. On the following day, King was assassinated. The speech primarily concerns the Memphis Sanitation Strike. King calls for unity, economic actions, boycotts, and nonviolent protest, while challenging the United States to live up to its ideals. At the end of the speech, he discusses the possibility of an untimely death. Regarding the strike, King stated that: The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. He warned the protesters not to engage in violence lest the issue of injustice be ignored because of the focus on the violence. King argued that peaceful demonstrations were the best course of action, the only way to guarantee that their demands would be heard and answered. Regarding the Civil Rights Movement, King demanded that the United States defend for all its citizens what is promised in the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and stated that he would never give up until these natural rights were protected, saying: Somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights. And so just as I said, we aren’t going to let dogs or water hoses turn us around. We aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on. Regarding economic boycotts, King advocated boycotting white goods as a means of nonviolent protest. He said that the individual Negro is poor but together they are an economic powerhouse, and they should use this power to stop support for racist groups and instead empower black businesses. …”
NY Times – Martin Luther King Jr. Day: 8 Places in New York to Remember His Legacy
YouTube: Martin Luther King’s Last Speech: I’ve Been to the Mountaintop

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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