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"Speeches"

MLK's Statement on Current Electoral Politics

This is the draft of a statement that Dr. King planned to make, concerning the state of politics in America. Dr. King expresses his disappointment in that "the quality of some of the men elected makes a mockery of responsible government," and urges African-Americans to "lose faith in a shallow 'good will' that provides nothing."

Keynote Address Introduction for Sidney Poitier

Monday, August 14, 1967

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."

Statement by Reverend Jesse Jackson

Wednesday, August 16, 1967

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."

Address by MLK at SCLC Ministers Conference

Wednesday, September 23, 1959

Dr. King addresses those in attendance at the Southern Christian Ministers Conference. He brings words of encouragement to those working diligently for social change in Mississippi. He speaks words of promise that things will change since the Supreme Court has ruled segregation unconstitutional and he gives examples of how things are slowly changing. However, he acknowledges that there is still much work to be done, especially in the South. Dr. King lists actions that must be at the top of everyone's list to be taken care of.

Epitaph for a First Lady: Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, November 24, 1962

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

Draft of MLK Response to the Establishment of a Bi-Racial Commission in Saint Augustine, Florida

This is a draft of a response for Dr. King to make regarding the establishment of a bi-racial commission in St. Augustine, Florida to address the issues of equality, human dignity and racial justice.

1967 Geneva Convocation

Monday, May 29, 1967

Dr. King provides introductory remarks to participants of the Pacem In Terris II Convocation held in Geneva, Switzerland. He addresses several moral and political concerns as it relates war and Vietnam.

Draft of Statement "Vote No on State Question 409" by MLK

In this draft of a statement, Dr. King discusses the misnomer of 'right-to-work,' stating that the law is against Civil Rights as it is anti-union.

Draft of Address at the Fourth Constitutional Convention of the AFL-CIO

In this address to the AFL-CIO, Dr. King compares the labor and civil rights movements. He argues that those who are anti-labor are also likely anti-civil rights. Thus, the Negro understands the labor movement and shares the same enemies. Dr. King also predicts that the coming years will be trying ones for laborers due to the automation of work processes, stating that "automation will grind jobs into dust." Dr. King urges the labor movement to strengthen itself by embracing the Negro people.

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.

Address Given by Vice President Nixon in Asheville, North Carolina

Wednesday, June 5, 1957

This is the text of an address given by Vice President Richard Nixon before the sixty-sixth annual convention of the General Federation of Women's Club. He discusses the differences in countries dealing with Communism and America being a democracy.

MLK's Statement in Regards to Adlai Stevenson

Wednesday, July 14, 1965

Dr. King makes a statement following the death of Adlai Stevenson.

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.

Non-Violent Procedures to Inter-Racial Harmony

Tuesday, October 16, 1956

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 on Danville and the Problem of Violence

Friday, July 12, 1963

Dr. King discusses his perception of the nonviolent movement, and how the leadership maintains control even though minimal violent outbreaks may occur.

MLK Announces a New SCLC March in Washington, DC

Monday, December 4, 1967

Dr. King announces the SCLC's decision to lead a non-violent march on Washington protesting the government's lack of support in providing jobs and income for impoverished Americans.

Martin Luther King Does It Again

Sunday, April 23, 1967

Ralph C. Bailey, a marcher in the New York City demonstration against the War in Vietnam, describes the demonstration as an "impressive spectacle" of people of all ages and races. He praises Dr. King for combining revolution with nonviolence in hopes of a peaceful demonstration.

MLK - Justice Without Violence

Wednesday, April 3, 1957

Dr. King gave this 1957 address to the Institute of Adult Education at Brandeis University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Text of Speech Delivered at Lincoln Memorial

Wednesday, August 28, 1963

This speech, given by Dr. King at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C, brings attention to the current state of oppression of Negro men and women in 1963.

Statement from MLK Returning from Receiving Nobel Prize

Friday, December 18, 1964

Upon returning from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King issued this statement on segregation, calling it "nothing but a new form of slavery."

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.

Preview of the "Dream" at Detroit March

Sunday, June 23, 1963

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.

Notes for an Address to Memphis Strikers

Dr. King drafted these notes, which were used in an address given in Memphis, Tennessee in March of 1968. "Dives" is a Biblical character who refused to give aid to the poor and was condemned for it.

Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on House Resolution 7152

Tuesday, October 15, 1963

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."

Statement Regarding Chicago Movement

Friday, December 2, 1966

Dr. King speaks about the Chicago Freedom Movement that is mobilizing to "launch an intensive voter registration" campaign in Negro communities. Dr. King states, "the ultimate goal of this drive is to add substantially to the voter registration and motivate the entire Negro community to participate in the political process."

Our Struggle

Dr. King drafts this speech entitled "Our Struggle" for the April 1956 publication of Liberation. Dr. King discusses how both whites and blacks have internalized a caste system that perpetuates Negroes as inferior beings. He speculates that racial peace is maintained in the caste system due to harsh discrimination and a loss of faith in the black community. Dr. King states that the shift in race relations, and subsequent tension, occurred when Negroes "began to re-evaluate themselves," finding self-respect and dignity.

National Council of Churches Conference of Negro Leaders Opening Remarks

Saturday, January 30, 1965

A. Philip Randolph makes remarks at the Conference of Negro Leaders National Council of Churches about the future of the Civil Rights Movement. Randolph expresses the importance of continuing the fight of social justice through civil rights, economics, housing and poverty.

Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution

Sunday, August 1, 1965

Dr. King delivers the commencement address at Oberlin College in Ohio on June 14, 1965. Nothing is more tragic, he says, than sleeping through a significant period of social change by failing to adopt the new mental attitudes that the new situation demands. He suggests that to remain awake through a great revolution one must embrace a global perspective and work for peace, racial justice, economic justice and brotherhood throughout the world.

MLK Address to Southern Association of Political Scientists

Friday, November 13, 1964

Dr. King addresses the Southern Association of Political Scientists in November of 1964. This address consists of the accomplishments made because of the Civil Rights Movement and areas that society needs to improve upon.

Gandhi Society for Human Rights Address by MLK

Thursday, May 17, 1962

Dr. King speaks at a luncheon launching the Gandhi Society on May 17, 1962, citing the great significance of the day: the anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision declaring school segregation unconstitutional, the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the centennial of the death of Henry David Thoreau, whose essay on civil disobedience influenced Gandhi. He announces that earlier that day he sent President Kennedy a document seeking an executive order proclaiming all forms of segregation to be a violation of the US Constitution.