In 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was in the prime of his time as a civil rights leader of the African American Civil Rights Movement fighting segregation and inequality in America for the African American Community. One of the most famous moments in his leadership was The Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955. One of the most iconic moments was his ‘I have a Dream’ speech in 1963 that not only captured the American Nation but international support. This speech established him in history as one of the greatest orators in American History. Martin Luther King Jr. was also presented with a noble peace prize in 1964 for his dedication to combat racial inequality.
On this Day, April 3 in 1968 Martin luther King Jr, delivered his ‘Moutaintop’ speech, he say the change that was happening all around him;
‘Something is happening in Memphis; something is happening in our world’
Although the speech makes clear statements about the progress that needs to continue in the United States he was ever loyal to his religion having faith in God to support the cause;
The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around. That’s a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a way that men, in some strange way, are responding.
Martin Luther King Jr. throughout the speech declares how happy he is to be alive in this age, he saw that the uprising of the people was happening globally all with the clear cry of freedom, the moment was now, with Civil and equal rights at the pinnacle of America as men and women were now forced grapple with the idea of change and injustice, Memphiasis was a key area as thousands of Black sanitation workers had gone on strike for equal rights in the work place but were being ignored, The Mountaintop speech clarified why the marchers would keep marching till they were heard;
‘And that’s all this whole thing is about. We aren’t engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people. We are saying — We are saying that we are God’s children. And that we are God’s children, we don’t have to live like we are forced to live.’
The ending of the speech was as powerful as his ‘I have a Dream’ Speech given only years earlier;
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!
And so I’m happy, tonight.
I’m not worried about anything.
I’m not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!
The irony was that 24 hours later Martin Luther King Jr would be assassinated. However, his rhetoric would not be forgotten, he redefined civil rights in America through non-violent protest doing exactly what he proclaimed he wanted to achieve in his life in his ‘mountaintop’ speech, doing what he perceived as God’s Will for the the equality of rights for the African American people.