This year marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s landmark "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, delivered in Memphis to striking sanitation workers on April 3 1968, the day before his assassination. King possessed unmatched skills as an orator and writer, which shine in audio recordings. His voice is as resonant and his words are as powerful today as they were 50 years ago. In the speech, King references First Amendment rights: "Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech, Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right." Let's remember his moving words by listening to audio of the speeches.
A Call to Conscience includes the Mountaintop speech and 11 others, including the "I Have a Dream" speech, "Eulogy for the Young Victims," and the "Birth of a New Nation." The speeches are prefaced by introductions from public figures and activists, including Coretta Scott King, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, U.S. Rep. John Lewis and U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
A Knock at Midnight includes church sermons in King's sonorous voice, two of which are "An American Dream" and "Recovering Lost Values."
In the spring of 1963, King led a series of non-violent marches and sit-ins against segregation in Birmingham, Ala., which, famously, resulted in his arrest and 11-day imprisonment.This set the scene for the writing of Letter From Birmingham Jail, which advocated for non-violent resistance and peaceful protest. This audio edition is narrated by Dion Graham. Audiofile Magazine's review states, "Nobody can duplicate King's distinctive voice and presentation, but narrator Dion Graham presents this iconic document with a clarity and forcefulness worthy of its inspiring message."
Do you have a favorite MLK speech? Share it with us in the comments.