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"Speeches"

MLK on Student Sit-Ins

Friday, April 15, 1960
North Carolina (NC)

Dr. King applauds the students participating in sit-in demonstrations and states that the leaders must develop a strategy for victory. He suggests topics for discussion including: creating an organization, a nationwide selective buying campaign, training for jail not bail, further exploration of nonviolence, and taking the freedom struggle into every community without exception. These suggestions led to the formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

I Have A Dream

South Carolina (SC), Georgia (GA), Mississippi (MS), Louisiana (LA), Alabama (AL)

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.

Press Conference Statement on New York

Wednesday, July 29, 1964
New York (NY)

Dr. King addresses the city of New York and the problem of mounting violence. Dr. King urges the city to help take a stand by promoting social justice through nonviolence efforts and strategies.

Oberlin College Commencement

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Washington, D.C., PUERTO RICO, VIETNAM, INDIA, Alabama (AL), Mississippi (MS), New Hampshire (NH)

This issue of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine features commencement articles and photos as well as Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, Dr. King’s address to the graduating class.

Speech to the Synagogue Council of America

Sunday, December 5, 1965
New York (NY), CHINA

Dr. King receives the Judaism and World Peace Award from the Synagogue Council of America and uses the occasion to speak about the Civil Rights Movement and international peace. He laments the vehement criticism of dissent and discussion of the Vietnam War and enumerates reasons why the Hebrew prophets are so needed today.

We Return to Birmingham Jail to Bear Witness

Birmingham, AL

On his way to turn themselves in to Birmingham jail again in 1967, Dr. King writes this article in longhand, asserting the purposes of the civil rights activists' civil disobedience. Their unjust incarceration, he states, will allow them to bear witness to an unjust justice system, from Bull Connor's dogs to the US Supreme Court. The Court had just issued a decision supporting Connor's injunction forbidding the protests of the Birmingham campaign, which had led to his first incarceration there in 1963.

The Casualties of The War In Vietnam

Saturday, February 25, 1967
California (CA), Los Angeles, CA, VIETNAM, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, SOUTH AFRICA

Dr. King speaks on behalf of the United States presence in Vietnam at a symposium held in Los Angeles, California. He addresses the moral, social, and political causalities that arise as result of war. Moreover, he urges the powers that be to allocate resources for good and rather than evil.

Press Release on School Integration of Taliaferro County, Georgia

Thursday, October 14, 1965
Georgia (GA)

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

MLK Address at the National Biennial Convention

Wednesday, May 14, 1958
Florida (FL), INDIA, INDONESIA, BURMA / MYANMAR, Mississippi (MS)

Dr. King delivers this speech at the National Biennial Convention of the American Jewish Congress. The convention took place May 1, 1958 in Miami Beach, Florida. Dr. King discusses how the Jewish and Negro communities are unified by the escape of bondage. They share a common fight against the deadly enemies of oppression. He continues on to discuss the things that need to be done in order for African Americans to reach great potential along with the importance of fighting for and obtaining democracy.

Non-Violent Procedures to Inter-Racial Harmony

Tuesday, October 16, 1956
New York (NY)

In this early speech to a NY Universalists' convention, Dr. King lays out his nonviolence method, based on Gandhi's. He outlines five of the six principles he will use later. They are: active, courageous resistance; winning the moral conversion of the opponent, not defeating him; attacking the forces of evil, rather than the persons doing evil; using love to avoid "internal violence of the spirit"; and faith in the inclination of the universe towards justice.

MLK Speech Outline

This document contains a preliminary speech outline by Dr. King. The topic of the talk is "The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness," and in it Dr. King maintains that, "We must continue to courageously challenge the system of segregation."

MLK's Address at the Pilgrimage for Democracy

Sunday, December 15, 1963
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

Dr. King discusses the issues of segregation, poverty and discrimination within the City of Atlanta, in this 1963 speech at the Pilgrimage for Democracy. He explains that although Atlanta was thought to be a place of "racial harmony," the reality of glaring discrimination in Atlanta's schools, restaurants, and housing has left the local Negro community "tired," and hungry for change.

Introduction of Senator Edward M. Kennedy by MLK

Monday, August 8, 1966
Jackson, MS, Massachusetts (MA)

Dr. King introduces the SCLC's guest speaker, Senator Edward Kennedy at a conference in Jackson, Mississippi.

Transcript of Press Conference on Hotel Restaurant Desegregation

Atlanta, GA

Dr. King states in this 1962 press conference that he sees integration of Atlanta hotels and restaurants as imminent. With the exception of Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina, civil rights are progressing throughout the South. The many groups working on the issue are working toward a common goal and using a variety of strategies, including direct action, litigation, legislation, and education.

Statement of the Committee for Emmett Doe

VIETNAM, Georgia (GA)

The Committee for Emmett Doe issues a statement both explaining Doe's situation and also asking for support. Doe, an Army paramedic, faced court-martial for allegedly cursing a white superior. He was later acquitted of the charges.

MLK's Statement on Endorsing a 1960 Presidential Candidate

Tuesday, November 1, 1960
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Dr. King states that the SCLC is a non-partisan organization and that he cannot endorse a political party or candidate. He then goes on to express gratitude for Senator Kennedy and Mayor Hartsfield for their continuous support and leadership.

MLK Address to District 65 of the AFL-CIO

Saturday, September 8, 1962
New York (NY), Florida (FL), Albany, GA, Little Rock, AR, Jackson, MS, Montgomery, AL, ITALY, GERMANY, FRANCE, JAPAN

Dr. King addresses District 65 of the AFL-CIO in Monticello, New York. He begins by expressing his appreciation to the AFL-CIO for their generous contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. He discusses the impact of the Albany Movement and segregation in the South. Dr. King makes the point that America refers to itself as a world leader, yet we are significantly behind other countries in social and welfare legislation.

People to People

Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), Cleveland, OH, Ohio (OH), Philadelphia, PA, Pennsylvania (PA), Washington, D.C., Albany, GA, Birmingham, AL, Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL, Florida (FL), St. Augustine, FL, Georgia (GA), Virginia (VA)

Dr. King announces the SCLC's launching of a People to People tour of four northern cities. The SCLC launched this tour in the north to display a concern for the "moral welfare of Northern Negroes."

New York Amsterdam News: Our New President

Friday, December 27, 1963
Texas (TX), Alabama (AL)

Dr. King opens his statement on Lyndon B. Johnson, the new president of the United States, and how the tenure of his presidency began with adversity. Due to the elected southern president, the nation questions the possible improvement of the Negro community. Dr. King asserts that President Johnson's record on civil rights is astounding and his "southern-ness" will provide him with a better understanding of the Negro's plight. Dr. King further details the perceptions, actions, and works of President Johnson's efforts in the civil rights movement.

MLK Address - The Association of The Bar of the City of New York

Wednesday, April 21, 1965
New York, NY, New York (NY), Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL, Mississippi (MS), Louisiana (LA), Washington, D.C., Jackson, MS, Albany, GA, Georgia (GA), Arkansas (AR), St. Augustine, FL, Florida (FL)

Dr. King gives an address to the Association of The Bar of the City of New York at the Hilton Hotel in New York. He praises lawyers for using their knowledge to aid the Civil Rights Movement. He states that Negro lawyers bring wisdom and a determination to win to the courtroom. Dr. King also defines an unjust law as a law that is "out of harmony with moral law of the universe."

Seventh Annual Gandhi Memorial Lecture

Sunday, November 6, 1966
Washington, D.C., Montgomery, AL, Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Selma, AL, Albany, GA, Georgia (GA), Mississippi (MS), Chicago, IL

Howard University presents Dr. King as its primary speaker for their seventh annual Gandhi Memorial Lecture in 1966. Dr. King traces the slow but meaningful progress society has made from slavery to the current civil rights movement. However, he notes that the present challenges in achieving equality involve not only the silence of individuals of good will but also the conditons that keep the Negro inferior.

The Chicago Plan

Friday, January 7, 1966
Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), Tennessee (TN), Indiana (IN), Louisville, KY, Birmingham, AL, CONGO / ZAIRE, BELGIUM, SOUTH AFRICA, Selma, AL, Montgomery, AL, Philadelphia, PA, New York, NY

Dr. King laments over Chicago becoming so much like the South that many African Americans moved north to get away from. Dr. King lays out reasons why African Americans suffer more in Chicago than any other northern city and provides directions to correct the problem.

A Message from Jail

Saturday, July 21, 1962
Albany, GA

After being arrested and charged with parading without a license, Dr. King wrote a column from jail. The column shared his and Ralph David Abernathy's decision to serve the jail sentence instead of paying a fine of $178.

Press Conference on the Chicago Movement

Wednesday, July 7, 1965
Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL

Dr. King and SCLC members have accepted the invitation to join the fight for a quality integrated education for the children of Chicago.

MLK Address to the United Neighborhood Houses of New York

Tuesday, December 6, 1966
New York (NY), VIETNAM

Dr. King addresses the United Neighborhood Houses of New York at the Biltmore Hotel. He focuses on the need to alter the ineffective, piecemeal manner in which the government tries to fight poverty by fighting its symptoms, and instead suggest that the government channel those funds into a new "guaranteed annual income" that will help turn non-producers into consumers. This rough draft of the speech contains Dr. King's handwritten revisions and additions.

Keynote Address Introduction for Sidney Poitier

Monday, August 14, 1967
Florida (FL), Maine (ME), New York (NY), California (CA)

At the Tenth Annual Convention of the SCLC, Dr. King delivers this introduction of guest speaker, Sidney Poitier. Andrew Young further praises Mr. Poitier for informing the black community that one should be "proud to be black" because "black is beautiful."

MLK Accepts Nobel Peace Prize

Thursday, December 10, 1964
Oslo, Norway, NORWAY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Philadelphia, MS, Mississippi (MS), Montgomery, AL, South Africa

In his acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, Dr. King dedicates his award to the nonviolent struggle necessary for overcoming the oppression and violence afflicting American Negroes.

"The American Dream"

Tuesday, June 6, 1961
New York (NY), Washington (WA), INDIA, Georgia (GA), Tennessee (TN), SPAIN, Philadelphia, PA, Los Angeles, CA

This transcription of the commencement address delivered by Dr. King at Lincoln University on June 6 1961.

Statement by Reverend Jesse Jackson

Wednesday, August 16, 1967
Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA

Reverend Jesse Jackson gives a report regarding SCLC's Operation Breadbasket. Reverend Jackson states, "There are no riotous fires set aflame in this country that can be put out with water from a rubber hose; the flames must be extinguished by money from an economic hose."

The American Dream

Sunday, February 10, 1963
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, California (CA), Los Angeles, CA, New York (NY), New York, NY, JAPAN, Tokyo, Japan, Washington (WA), INDIA, Mississippi (MS), Virginia (VA), Alabama (AL), Georgia (GA), Pennsylvania (PA), Philadelphia, PA, FINLAND

This document contains the text of an address that Dr. King gave at Plymouth Church of The Pilgrims in Brooklyn, New York. Dr. King describes the steps that should be taken in order to make the American Dream a reality.