Thursday, September 16

Five Speeches by Martin Luther King Jr.

Did you know that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave an average of 450 speeches per year? When we ask our students about Martin Luther King, Jr. and which of his speeches they are most familiar with, the vast majority of them will say I Have a Dream. I Have a Dream may be his most famous speech... but it's definitely not his only. Keep reading to learn about five of his other significant speeches. Excerpts from each speech are included.

Children can learn about and listen to five speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream, I've Been to the Mountaintop, What Is Your Life's Blueprint, The Other America, Nobel Prize acceptance speech, and Remaining Awake

This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2016. Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.



Note: I highly suggest you preview the videos before clicking through to YouTube before showing them to your students. Some of the comments posted on the YouTube links are offensive and ignorant. If you stay on this page to watch the videos below, you won’t be able to see those comments.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Statue in Washington, DC

What Is Your Life's Blueprint?

On Oct. 26, 1967... six months before he was assassinated... Martin Luther King Jr. visited Baratt Junior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. King spoke to the students to remind them they matter and are important. He also encouraged them to think about the choices they make in their lives. This is a video of the entire What Is Your Life's Blueprint? speech.

Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you are nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance. 
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.




The Other America

On April 14, 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to the students and faculty at Stanford University. In his speech called The Other America, Dr. King speaks out about racism, civil rights, segregation and integration, poverty, and economic justice. This is a video of the entire The Other America speech.

And I use this subject because there are literally two Americas. One America is beautiful for situation. And, in a sense, this America is overflowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of opportunity... But tragically and unfortunately, there is another America... In this America, people are poor by the millions. They find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. 
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.




Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Martin Luther King, Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his non-violent struggle for civil rights for the Afro-American population. Dr. King was the youngest person at the time to receive this honor. This is a video of his entire acceptance speech.

I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.

After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 



I’ve Been to the Mountaintop

I've Been to the Mountaintop was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s final speech. Dr. King gave this speech on April 3rd, 1968 to a church in Memphis, Tennessee. He called for unity, economic actions, boycotts, and non-violent protests while challenging the United States to live up to its ideals. In I've Been to the Mountaintop, he talks prophetically about the possibility of an untimely death. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated the next day. This is a video of his entire speech.

We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter to me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind...I just want to do God's will. And he's allowed me to go 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.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.




Remaining Awake

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral was held on April 9, 1968, in Atlanta, Georgia. His wife... Coretta Scott King... requested that his final Sunday sermon Remaining Awake be played. This is an excerpt of his sermon.

We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
-Dr. Martin Luther, King. Jr.




I Have a Dream

I Have a Dream is the speech most children... and adults... are familiar with. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave this speech on August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Dr. King called for the end of racism and shared his vision of a world in which all people can come together in peace.

When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



Did you enjoy reading this post about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speeches? If so, check out these other blog posts about American history:



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