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"Speeches"

Preview of the "Dream" at Detroit March

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Two months before the famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington, King used many of the same words, rhetorical techniques, and themes. King expresses gratitude and inspiration and warns against hatred and separatism at what he thinks is the largest US demonstration to date, a march in Detroit June 23, 1963. The legacy of slavery and segregation induced a false sense of inferiority in Negroes.

Sunday, June 23, 1963

MLK's Remarks at the World March Toward Human Rights Luncheon

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This is a draft of remarks made by Dr. King to the World March Toward Human Rights Luncheon of the NAACP's Legal Education Defense Fund. The event took place at the Americana Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Dr. King states that human rights involve two elements: recognition and opportunity. Dr. King proposes that the United States launch a Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged.

Thursday, May 28, 1964

MKL At Zoin Hill - "The Ballot"

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This transcript of a passionate, poetic, and inspiring speech touches on many of King's motifs. It starts with an appeal for voting rights, addresses the despair the audience feels from time to time, and ends with a refrain of "we shall overcome."

Tuesday, July 17, 1962

Statement on CORE Supportive Action Against Variety Chain Store Discrimination in the South

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The Congress of Racial Equality issues a statement regarding economic boycotts of chain stores in the North that have segregated stores in the South. These boycotts are in support of desegregation efforts in the South.

Sunday, February 12, 1961

Eulogy for Robert W. Spike

Dr. King highlights the life and work of American clergyman, theologian, and civil rights leader, Robert W. Spike. Spike was a leader known for mobilizing church participation for the Civil Rights Movement. Less than one year after accepting a professorship at the University of Chicago, he was murdered.

The Kinship Between the Labor Unions and Negroes

Dr. King presents a speech at the United Auto Workers Convention in May 1961, which acknowledges the new challenges faced by factory workers because of technological advances that threaten to leave them jobless. He draws a parallel between the plight of auto workers and the Negro experiences of disenfranchisement in the US to highlight the potential for alliance between the two groups.

MLK Upon Landing at New York City

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Dr. King expresses his enjoyment upon his return from India. He also gives his opinion on a few issues in India such as India's struggling economy. He first advises that Western nations should aid India in improving their economy. Then he compares the caste system to the race problem in America.

Wednesday, March 18, 1959

Test of Address by Vice President Richard M. Nixon

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Vice President Nixon discusses the legacy of Alfred E. Smith and how it correlates with the American dream.

Friday, October 19, 1956

Importance of the Public Accommodations Section of the Civil Rights Bill

This document features a story of a white civil rights worker who was fined and sentence to jail because she sought to eat with her Negro friends in a restaurant in Atlanta.

Speech to the American Psychological Association

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In this speech on the 75th anniversary of the American Psychological Association, Dr. King acknowledges the help that social science can have in the quest of Negroes for equality. He identifies three areas for study: Negro leadership, the efficacy of political action, and the psychological and ideological changes taking place in Negroes as a result of a decade of struggle.

Friday, September 1, 1967

Speech to SCLC Convention about Vietnam

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Dr. King makes one of his first public statements opposing the war in Vietnam during the SCLC Convention held in Birmingham. According to King, "Neither the American people nor the people of North Vietnam is the enemy. The true enemy is war itself, and people on both sides are trapped in its inexorable destruction."

Thursday, August 12, 1965

Democratic National Convention Platform Committee Statement

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In this statement delivered August 22, 1964, Dr. King outlines three urgent priorities for the Committee and the party as a whole: enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, furthering voting rights and the war on poverty. He asks that the platform include a recommendation that a panel of voting rights marshals be established and that the Convention support a Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged.

Saturday, August 1, 1964

SCLC Annual Report by MLK, 1965

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Dr King delivered this report at the SCLC's ninth annual national convention in Birmingham, Alabama. Serving essentially as a State of the Union address for the SCLC, the report touches on the major topics of the Civil Rights Movement and the recent achievements and goals of the SCLC.

Wednesday, August 11, 1965

MLK Announcement of Rally to be held in San Francisco

Dr. King announces the details for a rally in San Francisco, California to garner support for the pending Civil Rights Bill in Congress. He makes a call to action for various diverse groups to join in this initiative.

Press Release on School Integration of Taliaferro County, Georgia

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This press release by Dr. King commends the decision of the three-judge panel on the decision of school integration.

Thursday, October 14, 1965

MLK Announces End of Montgomery Bus Boycott

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Dr. King, as President of the Montgomery Improvement Association, issued this statement following the US Supreme Court’s decision declaring laws requiring segregation on busses unconstitutional. He announces that the year-long bus boycott is officially over and urges Negroes to return to the buses the next morning on a non-segregated basis. Negroes need to adopt a spirit of understanding toward their white brothers, he says. It is time to move from protest to reconciliation.

Thursday, December 20, 1956

Albany Justice Draft for Amsterdam News

Dr. King expounds upon the city of Albany and the adversities it faced that brought about the focus of international scrutiny. Dr. King notes two prominent international occasions that occurred in Albany, the peace walk to Cuba and the Guantanamo Peace March. He cites quotations from Chief Laurie Prichett and Bradford Lyttle. Dr. King further elaborates on the injustices of Albany, segregation, discriminatory practices and more.

Retirement Speech from MLK to Dr. Benjamin E. May

Dr. King honors Dr. Mays for serving as the President of Morehouse College as he enters into retirement.

Statement Upon Return to Montgomery

Dr. King reflects on his near death experience after Izola Ware Curry stabbed him with a letter opener at a book signing in New York City on September 20, 1958. Although Dr. King refers to Curry as a "deranged woman," he has "no bitterness towards her" and sees her actions only as a "reflection on the moral climate." Dr. King further states what he will remember most is the "vast outpouring of sympathy" that was received from all races and creeds.

Draft of Statement by MLK on his Involvement With the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Dr. King wishes to clarify his endorsement of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. He states that he did not mean to imply that there was a civil rights issue in the "collective bargaining election," but rather that he admires the accomplishments of the labor movement.

MLK on the Seating of Julian Bond

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Georgia State Legislature has refused to seat Representative-Elect Julian Bond. Dr. King expresses his disdain for the social injustice. His plan of action is to combat this prejudice by rallying members of the white and black community to engage in protest.

Wednesday, January 12, 1966

MLK Statement at Pacem In Terris II Convocation

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Dr. King's introductory remarks at the Pacem In Terris II Convocation critiques the United States' involvement in Vietnam.

Monday, May 29, 1967

Statement by Roy Wilkins to Congress

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The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights adopted this statement by Roy Wilkins, Chairman, for the opening of the 1967 Congressional session. Their agenda includes full compliance with all existing civil rights legislation, equality and justice in the courts, greater protection for those who exercise their civil rights, and an end to housing discrimination. Wilkins states that economic and social conditions must be created so that civil rights guaranteed by law can be realized.

Thursday, January 12, 1967

Draft of a Speech Regarding the Chicago Freedom Movement

This is a draft copy of Dr. King's speech on the Chicago Freedom Movement. The intention of this movement is to end slums in Chicago. Dr. King calls upon the poverty-stricken Negro, the middle class Negro, and the white community for assistance with this movement. Dr. King also states that years after the March on Washington, he has seen his dream turn into a nightmare due to the murders of civil rights activists.

I Have A Dream

In the most famous of his speeches, given from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Dr. King drew on themes from previous sermons and speeches, including an address he called The American Dream. Citing Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, the US Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence, King calls upon the nation to fulfill its promise of freedom and justice for all of its citizens. Although he began by reading from a manuscript, he later abandoned it and spoke directly to the crowd of more than 200,000.

Convocation on Equal Justice Under the Law

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This is a transcript of remarks made by Dr. King at the Convocation on Equal Justice Under Law, sponsored by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on May 28, 1964.

Thursday, May 28, 1964

Address to AFL-CIO New York City District 65

Dr. King speaks to the District 65 AFL-CIO to address the importance of job opportunities in the northern and southern regions of the United States. He explains that the labor movement must stay active in order to gain civil rights and equal pay for African American workers.

MLK Statement Before the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders

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Dr. King makes a public statement before the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorder. He addresses five causes of the recent riots: hite backlash, unemployment, discriminatory practices, war, and features peculiar to big cities.

Monday, October 23, 1967

Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on House Resolution 7152

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Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy comments on House Bill 7152, the bill that eventually culminated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Kennedy argues that the bill is a "test" to white Americans and that it must "effectively eliminate racial discrimination in voting, education and in employment." He addresses the eleven titles of the bill and describes the differences between the current bill and the version introduced by the president. Kennedy finally asserts that if the bill is not passed, then "the whole nation will be the loser."

Tuesday, October 15, 1963

The Modern Negro Activist

Dr. King profiles the emergent young Negro civil rights activist who is college-educated, creative, brave and committed to the discipline of non-violence. He attributes the activist's diligence to a keen awareness that they inhabit a world on the cusp of positive social change and that they will have the privilege to direct that change. They are no longer to be an imitator of his white counterpart, but rather an initiator and leader in this new age.

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