Category: civil rights movement

April 3rd 1968: King’s last speechOn this day in 1968, the…

April 3rd 1968: King’s last speech

On this day
in 1968, the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. made
his last speech, the day before his assassination. King was one of many leaders of the Civil Rights Movement for racial equality in America, but became the
face of the movement for his non-violent tactics and powerful oratory.
In 1963,
during the March on Washington, King delivered the crowning speech of
the struggle – the ‘I have a dream’ speech. Beyond his role in combating
racial inequality, King also focused on tackling poverty and advocating
peace, especially during the Vietnam War. In April 1968, King visited
Memphis in solidarity with striking sanitation workers. It was at the
Mason Temple in this city that he delivered his ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’
speech. The
very next day,
King was assassinated at his Memphis hotel by James Earl Ray. His final
speech was remarkably prophetic, as he appeared to acknowledge he would
not live long. King, a Baptist minister, invoked the Biblical story of Moses, who led the
Israelites out of slavery in Egypt but died before he could enter the
Promised Land.

“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.”

April 3rd 1968: King’s last speechOn this day …

April 3rd 1968: King’s last speech

On this day
in 1968, the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. made
his last speech, the day before his assassination. King was one of many leaders of the Civil Rights Movement for racial equality in America, but became the
face of the movement for his non-violent tactics and powerful oratory.
In 1963,
during the March on Washington, King delivered the crowning speech of
the struggle – the ‘I have a dream’ speech. Beyond his role in combating
racial inequality, King also focused on tackling poverty and advocating
peace, especially during the Vietnam War. In April 1968, King visited
Memphis in solidarity with striking sanitation workers. It was at the
Mason Temple in this city that he delivered his ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’
speech. The
very next day,
King was assassinated at his Memphis hotel by James Earl Ray. His final
speech was remarkably prophetic, as he appeared to acknowledge he would
not live long. King, a Baptist minister, invoked the Biblical story of Moses, who led the
Israelites out of slavery in Egypt but died before he could enter the
Promised Land.

“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.”

December 4, 1969: Two Members of Black Panther…

December 4, 1969: Two Members of Black Panther Party Killed By Police

On this day in 1969, Black Panther members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were killed by 14 police while sleeping in their apartments in Chicago, Illinois. The raid was led by Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan as government attempts to weaken the Black Power movement. Hampton and Clark died at age 21 and 22, respectively.

Delve deeper into the Black Power movement with PBS Black Culture Connection’s special collection feature on the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1985).

Photo: Black Panther Convention, Lincoln Memorial circa 1970 (Library of Congress).