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Martin Luther King
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MLK551205.wav

At the start of his anti-segregation vocation, King said this just after Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a White person in Montgomery, Alabama:

"We are here this evening for serious business. On so many occassions, Negroes have been intimidated and humiliated and oppressed because of the sheer fact that they were Negroes. Just the other day, just last Thursday to be exact, one of the finest citizens in Montgomery - not one of the finest Negro citizens, but one of the finest citizens in Montgomery - was taken from a bus and carried to jail and arrested because she refused to give up, to give her seat to a White person.

"We are going to work together, right here in Montgomery! When the history books are written in the future, somebody will have to say 'There lived a race of people - of BLACK people - a people who had the moral courage to stand up for their rights!'. Thereby, they'll have injected a new meaning into the veins of history and of civilization. We are going to do that! God grant that we will do it before it's too late."

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MLK5603-'TheWeaponOfLove'.wav

"We still advocate non-violence and passive resistance, and are still determined to use the weapon of Love. We are still insisting, emphatically, that violence is self-defeating - that he who lives by the sword will perish by the sword."

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MLK5608-'SufferingAndSacrificing'.wav

"I want young men and young women who are not alive today, but who will come into this world with new privileges and new opportunities - I want THEM to know and see that these new privileges and opportunities did not come without somebody suffering and sacrificing for them!"

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MLK561220-MontgomeryBusStrikeCalledOff.wav

King officially announces the successful end of the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Strike.

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MLK6304-'ALetterFromABirminghamJail'.wav

One of History's most moving and influential social statements, recited here by King from the text of his response to the public position taken by a council of Birmingham, Alabama clergymen who spoke out against King and his methods in the newspapers. This eloquent response, delivered from King's Birmingham jail cell where he was incarcerated for civil disobedience, was soon widely circulated amongst newspapers throughout the country, and became a landmark in the eliciting of White liberal support, let alone admiration, of Reverend King and the Civil Rights Movement on a national level.

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MLK6304-'WhyDirectAction'.wav

From the above: "You may well ask 'Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?' Non-violent direct action seeks to create such a crisis, and foster such a tension, that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue."

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MLK6304-'ExtremistForLove'.wav

From the same: "You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. Was not Jesus an extremist for Love - 'Love your enemies', 'Bless them that curse you', 'Do good to them that hate you' and 'Pray for them which despitely use you and persecute you'? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice, or for the extension of justice?"

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MLK6304-LitanyOfWoes.wav

From the same, one of the most moving social criticisms in the long record of History: "When you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will, and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policeman curse, kick and even kill your Black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an air-tight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted, and your speech stammering, as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park, and see her developing an unconcious bitterness toward White people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking 'Daddy, why do White people treat Colored people so mean?'; when you are humiliated day-in and day-out by nagging signs reading 'White' and 'Colored'; when your first name becomes 'Nigger', your middle name becomes 'Boy', however old you are, and your last name becomes 'John', and your wife and mother are never given the respected title 'Misses'; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tip-toe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degrading and degenerating sense of nobodiness - then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait."

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MLK6304-'Crucifixion'.wav

From the same: "You assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. Isn't this like condemning Jesus because His unique God-conciousness, and never-ceasing devotion to God's Will, precipitated the evil act of crucifixion?"

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MLK6304-'IHaveNoDespair'.wav

From the same: "I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of Freedom in Birmingham and all over the Nation because the goal of America is Freedom. We will win our Freedom because the sacred heritage of our Nation, and the Eternal Will of The Almighty God, are embodied in our echoing demands."

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MLK6304-'Don'tBeAfraidToDie'.wav

"You know when I say 'Don't be afraid', you know what I really mean - don't even be afraid to die! But I submit to you tonight, no man is free if he fears death. But the minute you conquer the fear of death, at that moment, you are free. You must say, somehow, 'I don't have much money - I don't have much education - I may not able to be able to read or write - but I have the capacity to die!'".

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MLK6304-'WeWillStillLoveYou'.wav

"We must say to our White brothers all over the south who are trying to keep us down, 'We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering! We will meet your physical force with Soul Force! We will not hate you, and yet, we cannot in all good conscience obey your evil laws! Do to us what you will! Threaten our children, and we will still love you! Come into our homes at the midnight hours of life, and take us out on some desolate highway, and beat us, and leave us there, and we will still love you! Run all around the continent, send your literature and say that we aren't worthy of integration, that we are too immoral, that we are too low, that we are too degraded, yet we will still love you! Bomb our homes and go by our churches early in the morning and bomb them if you please, and we will still love you! But we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer! In winning the victory, we will not only win our Freedom - we will so appeal to your heart and your conscience that we will win you in the process!'".

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MLK630828.wav

The entire "I Have A Dream" speech, delivered at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial at the terminus of the historic "March On Washington" Civil Rights demonstration.

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RealVideo 5.0 Version
(Highlights, Plus A. Philip Randolph's Introduction)

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MLK630828-Intro.wav

From the above: "I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in History as the greatest demonstration for Freedom in the history of our Nation."

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MLK630828-EmancipationProclamation.wav

From the same: "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclaimation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free - one hundred years later! The life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination - one hundred years later! The Negro lives on a lonely island of povery in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity - one hundred years later!"

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MLK630828-EmancipationProclamation1.wav

Excerpt from the above: "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclaimation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free..."

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MLK630828-'ExileInHisOwnLand'.wav

From the same speech: "The Negro is still languished in the corners of American society, and finds himself in exile in his own land."

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MLK630828-'ToCashACheck'.wav

From the same: "In a sense, we've come to our Nation's Capitol in order to cash a check. When the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were a signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men - yes, Black men as well as White men - would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check - a check which has come back marked 'Insufficient Funds'."

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MLK630828-'NowIsTheTime'.wav

From the same: "We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our Nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of Brotherhood - now is the time!"

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MLK630828-SummerOfDiscontent.wav

From the same: "It would be fatal for the Nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of Freedom and Equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the Nation returns to business-as-usual."

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MLK630828-'NeitherRestNorTranquility'.wav

From the same: "There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our Nation until the bright day of Justice emerges."

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MLK630828-'TheCupOfBitterness'.wav

From the same: "There is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of Justice - in the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for Freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."

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MLK630828-PhysicalVsSoulForce.wav

From the same: "We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with Soul Force."

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MLK630828-'NeverBeSatisfied'.wav

From the same: "There are those who are asking the devotees of Civil Rights 'When will you be satisfied?' We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality - we can never be satisfied."

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MLK630828-'SufferingIsRedemptive'.wav

From the same: "I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells, and some of you have come from areas where your quest for Freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive."

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MLK630828-'ValleyOfDespair'.wav

From the same: "Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair."

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MLK630828-'IHaveADream'.wav

From the same: "So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day, this Nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal'. I have a dream that one day, on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of Brotherhood. I have a dream that one day, even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of Freedom and Justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a Nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character - I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its Governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification - one day right there in Alabama, little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little White boys and White girls as sisters and brothers - I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day, every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together! This is our hope. This is the faith I go back to the south with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a Stone of Hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our Nation into a beautiful symphony of Brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for Freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."

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MLK630828-'LetFreedomRing'.wav

From the same, the climax: "This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning, 'My Country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of Liberty, of Thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let Freedom ring', and if America is to be a great Nation, this must become true. So let Freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let Freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let Freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let Freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let Freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California - but not only there. Let Freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let Freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let Freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi! From every mountainside, let Freedom ring! And when this happens, when we allow Freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and 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!'!"

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MLK64-NobelPrize.wav

Dr. King receives the Nobel Prize for Peace on 12/10/64.

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MLK650307-SelmaVoterRegistrationPepTalk.wav

King addresses assembled demonstrators before their first of three marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

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MarchFromSelma650309-King'sPrayer.wav

King leads a prayer for the three Unitarian Ministers who were beaten (one of whom later died of his wounds) directly after the second Selma March.

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MLK650325-MontgomeryCourthouse.wav

After succesfully marching from Selma to Montgomery's Courthouse after two previous marches had failed, Dr. King delivers a rousing moral speech to the masses assembled before the Courthouse.

RealVideo 5.0 Version
(Includes March Footage and Press Statements)

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MLK6607-Multi-EthnicSupport.wav

King addresses a congregation in Chicago on the need for multi-ethnic and multi-religious support of Civil Rights for all people.

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MLK670415'TheBattlefieldsOfVietnam'.mp3

King criticizes the effects of the Vietnam war on the American poor and the dreams of the "Great Society".

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MLK-LastSermon.wav

An excerpt from Rev. Kings last sermon, where he makes mention of how he would like to be remembered after his death.

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MLK680403.wav

King's last public speech, delivered the evening before his assassination, where in the midst of continuing threats against his life, he makes a prophetic utterance on both the future of his people and his own personal fate.

RealVideo 5.0 Version

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MLK680403-'MineEyesHaveSeenTheGlory'.wav

From the above: "Well, I don't know what will happen now. 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. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has it place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's Will, and He has allowed me to go up to the mountain, and I have looked over, and I have 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'! So I'm happy tonight, I'm not worried about anything! I'm not fearing any man! 'Mine eyes have seen the Glory of the Coming of The Lord! He is trampling out...'".

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All files digitized and © (P) 1999 by J. C. Kaelin, Jr.. This webpage, its compilation and respective content also © (P) 1999 by J. C. Kaelin, Jr.. No use on or off the Internet permitted without the express written permission of J. C. Kaelin, Jr..




© 1996-2014, J. C. Kaelin, Jr.. All Rights Reserved.

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