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"Speeches"

I've Been to the Mountaintop

Wednesday, April 3, 1968

Dr. King gave this address at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee the night before he was assassinated. He called for nonviolent protest and a boycott of Memphis area businesses in support of the Memphis Sanitation Workers strike. Conveying a sense of foreboding, he not only recounted a near-death experience when he was stabbed near the heart, but also spoke of the possibility of his own demise at the hands of those who opposed him.

Speech at Chicago Freedom Movement Rally

Sunday, July 10, 1966

Dr. King speaks of the urgent need to address issues in the city such as deplorable housing conditions, discrimination in employment, segregation and overcrowded schools. He urges his listeners to commit to fill up the jails if necessary, register every eligible Negro to vote, withhold rent from slumlords, withdraw economic support from companies that don't hire Negroes, and support Negro-owned businesses. He stresses the importance of using nonviolent methods.

MLK Notes for Speech to the Chicago Headline Club

This is a draft of a speech Dr. King delivered to the Chicago Headline Club. The speech encompasses information regarding the difficulty the media may have covering the SCLC and the Civil Rights Movement.

MLK's Public Statement Regarding Court Hearings

Friday, December 3, 1965

Dr. King compares past discrimination to recent strides that have been made in the American justice system.

MLK's Address to Syracuse University

Thursday, July 15, 1965

Dr. King, in a public speech at Howard University, talks about numerous factors that affect education in America.

Seventh Annual Gandhi Memorial Lecture

Sunday, November 6, 1966

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.

Statement by the President of the Montgomery Improvement Association

Wednesday, November 14, 1956

Dr. King makes a public statement regarding the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. The Supreme Court rendered a decision making separate but equal unconstitutional. Dr. King states that the next course of action that should be taken is the implementation of this noble decision and the end of the long night of enforced segregation.

MLK Address at Park Sheraton Hotel

Wednesday, September 12, 1962

Dr. King gives an address commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation. In the celebratory speech, he calls all Americans to take action in applying the principles of the Emancipation Proclamation to society. Dr. King states that the commands of the Proclamation have fallen short in practice and that it will take a cumulative effort from every citizen to undo this process.

Statement by MLK on Segregation

Thursday, July 11, 1963

In this statement from Dr. King on segregation, he argues that it is "nothing but a new form of slavery."

The Wind of Change is Blowing

Wednesday, June 27, 1962

Dr. King addresses the positive changes that have taken place across the world and how they should continue to occur until equality is reached.

MLK's Statement to SCLC Describing SCOPE

Wednesday, June 16, 1965

In this statement, Dr. King describes the Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE), an initiative of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Its goals are to train local leaders, inform the public, and register individuals to vote.

Interview with MLK for Radio Norway

Dr. King shares the way that Americans celebrate Christmas.

The Power of Nonviolence

Thursday, May 1, 1958

Dr. King delivers this address to the YMCA and YWCA in the Bay Area of California. The power of nonviolence is discussed being intertwined with the knowledge of agape, love and maladjustment. Agape can be defined as an understanding of the redemptive good will of all men. In relation to maladjustment, Dr. King explains how he never intended to adjust himself to segregation and discrimination. Dr. King expounds on how justice strengthened the Montgomery movement. He further explains how the powerful influence of love is a significant factor in the practice of nonviolence.

Who They are and Why They Struck

This article stresses the unfair treatment of twenty-two Claussen Bakery workers. This article also addresses why the workers went on strike.

MLK Statement Regarding the Non-Partisan Position of the SCLC

Tuesday, November 1, 1960

While keeping the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's position as a non-partisan organization, Dr. King expresses his gratitude to Senator Kennedy's concern for his arrest.

Methodist Church Statement on Vietnam Conflict

The Board of Christian Social Concerns of the Methodist Church releases a statement regarding the conflict in Vietnam and possible outcomes and solutions. The board urges steps leading to a withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam.

The Future of Integration

Dr. King discusses "The Future of Integration." King opens with background history of three distinct periods of race relations. The first period extends from 1619 to 1862, the era of slavery. The next period extends from 1863 to 1954 when blacks were emancipated, but still segregated. The third period started on May 17, 1954 when segregation was deemed unconstitutional and integration commenced. Furthermore, Dr. King explains the changes that occurred as a result of integration and how it will affect blacks and whites in the future.

The Task of Christian Leadership Training for Education in the Local Community

This undated manuscript was used as the basis for a speech Dr. King gave at the National Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1944. Dr. King defines community, lists three current problems within the community and explains the role of Christian leaders and education in a community. Dr. King identifies the most pressing problems as the economy, divisions within Christianity and race relations.

People to People

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."

Joint Statement on Violence in the Cities

Wednesday, July 26, 1967

Dr. King, A. Philip Randolph, Whitney M. Young Jr., and Roy Wilkins issue a joint statement urging Negro Americans in cities such as Newark and Detroit to end the public disorder and rioting. The civil rights leaders emphasize the potential damage the urban riots pose to "the Negro population, to the civil rights cause, and to the entire nation."

An Analysis of the Ethical Demands of Integration

Thursday, December 27, 1962

Dr. King argues that desegregation is only the first step towards the ultimate goal of complete racial equality. He explains that nonviolence, driven by the power of love, is crucial to create true integration.

Joint Statement of MLK and SCLC

Friday, April 30, 1965

Dr. King and John Lewis deliver a statement concerning a meeting presided over by Harry Belafonte. The meeting was intended to discover ways that the SCLC and SNCC could cooperate and concluded with an agreement for both organizations to work together but separately towards a voting bill and other goals.

Pathos and Hope

Dr. King writes about his trip to the Mississippi Delta. He reflects on the resolve and spirit of the people, who despite all odds are fighting for social justice and change.

Nobel Peace Prize Lecture

Friday, December 11, 1964

This is a handwritten draft of the Nobel lecture. Dr. King delivered this lecture at the University of Oslo on December 11, 1964, the day after receiving the Peace Prize. Aware of the prestigious nature of the award and the global recognition it brought to the nonviolent struggle for racial justice in the US, King worked nearly a month on his address. He goes beyond his dream for America and articulates a vision of a World House in which a family of different races, religions, ideas, cultures and interests must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Statement to SCLC Board About Alabama Boycotts

Friday, April 2, 1965

In this statement, Dr. King explains the need for a boycott of the state of Alabama because of extreme violence and police overreaction, which he calls "totalitarian."

The American Dream

The is a draft outline of Dr. King's "The American Dream" speech delivered at many colleges, universities and churches throughout the country. Dr. King urges Americans to abandon practices of discrimination in order to protect the American dream and the proliferation of the nation.

Draft Statement of Reverend Dr. MLK Jr.

This statement, not written in Dr. King's hand, responds to Joseph Alsop's syndicated column in the New York Herald Tribune. Dr. King clarifies that SCLC has no affiliation with the Communist Party. He also states the SCLC has not continued a relationship with Jack O'Dell since he was relieved of his responsibilities.

Epitaph for a First Lady: Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, November 24, 1962

Dr. Kings writes an epitaph discussing Eleanor Roosevelt and what she stood for.

Ebenezer Church Bulletin and President Kennedy's Eulogy

Sunday, November 24, 1963

This is an Ebenezer Baptist Church bulletin expressing appreciation for the congregation's various acts of kindness toward one another. On the opposite side of the bulletin, an outline can be found for a memorial speech for the late President Kennedy.

Public Statement at the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Wednesday, July 22, 1964

Dr. King speaks at a rally held for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Dr. King stresses the importance of government assistance in protecting African Americans citizens from violent actions when registering and voting during elections. In areas such as Mississippi where harassment and murders took place frequently, African Americans were in dire need of a political party that was free of racism so that they could fairly be represented in a prejudice society.