UPDATED: 5:40 a.m. ET, Jan. 17, 2022:
As arguably the greatest and most inspiring orator in American history, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s speeches have grown to become timeless and seemingly still apply to every facet of life in the U.S., including and especially the current political debate over voting rights.
Not only did the civil rights icon deliver speeches on the urgency of achieving equal access to the ballot but he also gave powerful addresses on the topics of poverty, the war in Vietnam and racial integration in the U.S. The legacy behind those and other sentiments he expressed in life has only magnified since his assassination more than a half-century ago.
To further recognize King’s greatness and his inimitable gift of speaking persuasively and knowledgeably, keep reading to revisit five of his greatest speeches of all time.
1. I Have A Dream. This is one of the most well-known and referred to speeches in modern American history.
2. Why I am Opposed to the War In Vietnam. Too often, people forget about King’s strong anti-war stance. Many of the reasons he opposed the war in Vietnam relate to the subsequent conflicts in Gaza and Iraq.
3. I’ve Been to the Mountain Top. King’s final speech was prophetic. He would be assassinated shortly afterward but his words would live on and inspire people forever.
4. The Urgency of Now. In a theme later used by Barack Obama, Martin Luther King showed why racial integration couldn’t wait.
5. A Time to Break Silence. In this speech, Martin Luther King again outlined his opposition to the war in Vietnam