Today, on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, it’s advisable we all view Martin Luther King’s final speech, his iconic “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” remarks, delivered ahead of the Sanitation Workers’ strike in Memphis. Viewing’s advisable for many reasons: one, MLK was an incredible orator whose words not only inspire the mind, but the soul; two, race relations in the States are at perhaps their lowest point since the 1960s and we desperately need a reminder of how nefarious hatred can be faced with peaceful fortitude; and, three, this speech specifically deserves recognition for his remarks about American rights: a court tried to prevent him from leading the Sanitation Workers’ march, a ruling that MLK rightly described as un-American. An excerpt:
If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand some of these illegal injunctions. Maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren’t going to let dogs or water hoses turn us around, we aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.
Let’s all go on, today, tomorrow and every day after until the nation lives up to its ideals, until totalitarian tendencies are squashed once and for all and until all people are free from want, fear, intimidation and to speak their minds.
Aforementioned excerpt is above, full speech below the break.