January 18th, 2021, marks the thirty-fifth time our nation has paused to commemorate the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Although many words were written about Dr. King during his brief life, and many more have been written about him after his brutal assassination and untimely death, perhaps one of the best ways to remember Dr. King is by encountering him on his own terms, wrestling anew with his prophetic voice, and grappling with the meaning of his ministry for his times and for our own. In this spirit, here is a sampling of some of Dr. King’s sermons, speeches, and interviews.
I Have a Dream (August 28, 1963)
Originally entitled “Normalcy Never Again,” Dr. King delivers the keynote address at the March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs.
Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (December 1, 1964)
Dr. King discusses three great evils – “inextricably bound to the other” – confronting the world: racial injustice, poverty, and war.
Meet the Press (March 28, 1965)
Dr. King connects the need for the right to vote to the necessity for defeating police brutality and racial violence aimed at the African-American community.
Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence (April 4, 1967)
Delivered at Riverside Church exactly one year before he was murdered, Dr. King relates the failures of the war in Vietnam to the failure of the War on Poverty.
I’ve Been to the Mountaintop (April 3, 1968)
Dr. King’s last speech, delivered at Mason Temple Church of God in Christ, in solidarity with striking sanitation workers in Memphis.