History has left us with a number of quotes that originated with
Dr. King, but many of them can't be found online. Today that
changes, as thousands of speeches and writings from Dr. King will
be available through The King Center's Digital Archives.
The Archives, the culmination of a 9-month project with JP
Morgan Chase, with additional help from AT&T and EMC
Corporation, will make all of King's work available in digitized
form for the first time.
For the rest of this week, ChicagoParent.com will be
trolling the archives to give you a taste of what is there - for
your curiousity or school research.
We know a lot about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We know he
was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi to obtain ends by
non-violent resistance. We know he was the leader in a movement
that revolutionalized the way generations after would think about
race and the world we live in. We know he was killed on a Memphis
hotel balcony on April 4, 1968.
Did you know he was only 39 when he died?
Did you know that he graduated high school when he was 15,
graduated college when he was 19, and had his own congregation when
he was 25?
And did you know that he was giving speeches long before I Have a Dream? And was writing scholarly
tracts long before his Letter from a Birmingham Jail?
Here are three speeches of Dr. King's that few people have
We think they resonate pretty well with the issues we face 40
and 50 years later. Happy reading and listening. And happy birthday
to Martin Luther King, Jr.
This speech, delivered at Morehouse College in 1948 when he was
19-years-old, could easily be delivered today. King posits that
education is not just about teaching skills, or giving us entry
into jobs. An educated person without character, according to King,
is not educated at all.
The last line, especially resonates with today: "If we are not
careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded,
unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts.
Be careful, 'brethren!' Be careful, teachers!"
This sermon was given at the Ebenezer Baptist Church just two
months before King was killed. It's a bit long, but the link also
includes audio at the top, and it's worth listening to - especially
if all you've ever heard of King's voice is the I Have a Dream
speech from August of 1963. King is slow and methodical, warming up
to his point.
And his point, again, could pertain to today: don't let your ego
get the best of you. Don't buy a car that is too expensive just so
you can look good. Don't buy a house that you can't afford. Don't
think you're better than somebody just because you have a PhD or a
The most chilling part is at the end. This sermon was given on
Feb. 4, 1968. Two months later - exactly - King's parishoners had
to heed his advice on how to mourn him.
This May 1957 speech was one of Dr. King's first in Washington,
D.C. It had been three years since the Supreme Court had decided
Brown vs. the Board of Educaiton, and it had still not been
implemented. King castigates the other two branches of government
for playing to the crowd, and not to the cause of justice - and
exhorts them to give African-Americans the right to vote.
He also asks for leaders to step up from the Negro community,
from moderate whites in the south, and from northern liberals -
whom he asserts don't really live up to their ideals:
"There is a dire need today for a liberalism which is truly
liberal. What we are witnessing today in so many northern
communities is a sort of quasi-liberalism which is based on the
principle of looking sympathetically at all sides. It is a
liberalism so bent on seeing all sides, that it fails to become
committed to either side. It is a liberalism that is so objectively
analytical that it is not subjectively committed. It is a
liberalism which is neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm."
This is also the speech in which King proclaimed that "the clock
of destiny is ticking."
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