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"Speeches"

The Negro Family: A Challenge to National Action

Thursday, January 27, 1966

Dr. King addresses the topic of the Negro family. He emphasizes the importance of discussing the Negro family in comparison to other races.

Freedom Festival Speech on Chicago Campaign

At the Freedom Festival a speech was made in regards to the Chicago Campaign. The campaign focuses on the urban renewal of the area. Specifically, it discusses the unemployment rate and housing conditions of African-Americans.

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.

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.

Love and Forgiveness

Tuesday, May 5, 1964

This is a speech entitled "Love and Forgiveness" that Dr. King delivered at the American Baptist Convention meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Jesus Christ and segregation serve as the major topics for this speech. Dr. King makes the compelling statements that "Jesus decided to meet hate with love," and that "segregation is still the Negro's burden and America's shame."

The Road to Freedom

This draft of Dr. King's "The Road to Freedom" speech explains "there is nothing more powerful in all the world than an idea whose time has come." He further states that the time has indeed come for the ideas of human dignity and freedom.

The Christian Way of Life in Human Relations

Wednesday, December 4, 1957

Dr. King makes a speech to the National Council of Churches regarding the issue of American race relations. After school integration ... has noticed a radical change in the attitudes of African-Americans, ultimately giving birth to this mental and figurative notion of the "new Negro". He solicits the assistance and leadership of the nation's churches to take a firm stand against the rampant inequalities afflicting blacks are facing in America.

Speech in Jackson, Mississippi

Wednesday, March 20, 1968

Dr. King addresses supporters in Jackson, Mississippi during his statewide tour for the 1968 Poor People's Campaign. He speaks of his excitement about the number of blacks in Mississippi that participated in the last congressional election. He emphasizes that the Poor People's Campaign cannot be successful without a strong coalition of organizations that see the need to combat poverty. King would be assassinated in Memphis two weeks after making this speech.

MLK Address at Dinner Honoring Jackie Robinson

Friday, July 20, 1962

This is the transcript of Dr. King's address at the 1962 Hall of Fame Dinner honoring Jackie Robinson in New York City. Dr. King praises Robinson for standing up for civil rights as the first Negro to break Major League Baseball's color barrier.

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.

MLK Address at Mass Meeting in Eutaw, Alabama

Wednesday, March 20, 1968

Dr. King challenges the Negro residents of Eutaw, Alabama to participate in the upcoming SCLC Poor People's Campaign. In this address, he urges the citizens of Eutaw to occupy Washington, D.C. in an effort to press Congress for a redistribution of wealth in America. He urges, "All ye who are tired of segregation and discrimination, come unto us. All ye who are overworked and underpaid, come unto us."

MLK Speaks on the African American Family

Thursday, January 27, 1966

Dr. King speaks to an assembly in Chicago, Illinois about the history and dynamics of the African American family in the United States.

Draft of I Have a Dream

Wednesday, August 28, 1963

This version of Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech reveals important changes to ideas and phrases that Dr. King chose either to alter or omit completely the day he addressed the throng gathered before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Dr. King's argument against the "normalcy" of bigotry remained a key message on the day he took the podium.

Dr. King Sermon Notes

Under the subject, "The Vision of a World Made New," Dr. King drafted these sermon notes. The essential message of the sermon referred to a need for a "new world order". Plato and Karl Marx are two of the great philosophers referenced in this document. Dr. King delivered this sermon at the annual meeting of the Woman's Convention Auxiliary, National Baptist Convetion in St. Louis, Missouri on September 9, 1954.

MLK on Student Sit-Ins

Friday, April 15, 1960

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).

MLK Address at the Georgia State Capitol Regarding Julian Bond

Friday, January 14, 1966

Dr. King delivers this speech at the State Capitol of Georgia protesting the legislation refusal to seat black politician Julian Bond. King calls this a "grave injustice" particularly since the state legislature of Georgia considers itself protecting the United States Constitution. Dr. King points out the irony of this act and exposes other irresponsible actions of the legislature.

Hungry Club Speech

Wednesday, May 10, 1967

This document is a draft copy of Dr. King's Hungry Club Speech, in which he speaks on the subject "America's Chief Moral Dilemma." He states that the dilemma is "the means by which we live have out distanced the ends for which we live." Dr. King thoroughly discusses the three major evils that contribute to this dilemma: the evil of racism, the evil poverty, and the evil of war. He also discusses the progress of the Civil Rights Movement as it enters a new phase of fighting for "genuine equality."

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.

A Message from Jail

Saturday, July 21, 1962

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.

Statement Before The Credentials Committee

Saturday, August 22, 1964

Dr. King makes a statement to the Democratic National Committee in an effort to persuade the the organization to recognize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party as a sitting, and voting, entity of the Democratic Party. Dr. King emphasizes that not only is the fabric of the Democratic National Party at stake, but representative government as it is known throughout the world.

We Return to Birmingham Jail to Bear Witness

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 Southern Struggle - What Can You Do?

Corretta Scott King discusses the privilege of being able to experience a great social revolution based on love and nonviolence, as inspired by the teachings of Jesus and Gandhi. She identifies Rosa Park's personal protest on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama as the beginning of the southern struggle and consequent revolution. She goes on to describe how this simple act aroused a great movement across the south, ultimately leading to the creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in January of 1957.

A Statement to the South and the Nation

The Southern Leaders Conference on Transportation and Non-Violent Integration issued this statement to the nation regarding the unresolved problems of civil rights. The leaders asked for all Negroes, particularly those in the South, to assert their human dignity and to seek justice by rejecting all injustices.

A Realistic Look at Race Relations

Thursday, May 17, 1956

Dr. King gives the three views one can take regarding the state of race relations: optimism, pessimism, and realistic. Dr. King argues for a realistic stance because America has accomplished much in race relations, but still has a long way to go. He further explains that he thinks segregation is in its last days.

MLK's Crawfordville, Georgia Speech

Monday, October 11, 1965

Dr. King rallies the people to keep pushing forward with nonviolent actions to gain freedom and dignity as human beings.

Address by MLK at Golden Anniversary Conference of National Urban League

Tuesday, September 6, 1960

Dr. King gives an address at the National Urban Leagues's Golden Anniversary Conference in New York City. He speaks on the subject, "The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness" and discusses the Negroes new sense of "somebodiness." The factors that contribute to this new sense of dignity include a population shift from rural to urban life, rapid educational advance, gradual improvement of economic status, Supreme Court decisions outlawing segregation in the public schools, and awareness that freedom is a part of a world-wide struggle.

Beyond Vietnam

Tuesday, April 4, 1967

In Dr. Kings Beyond Vietnam address, he discusses seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into "a field of moral vision," five things that the government should do to remove itself from conflict with Vietnam, the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, and Premier Diem. Dr. King also encourages those in the churches and the synagogues to speak out against the war in Vietnam.

Inauguration Response by J. Lynwood Gresham

Friday, November 10, 1967

This document is the inauguration response delivered by Dr. J. Lynwood Gresham of Barber-Scotia College.

MLK Upon Landing at New York City

Wednesday, March 18, 1959

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.