UPDATED: 6:30 a.m. ET, Jan. 18, 2021:
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., might be the greatest orator in American history. This year would have marked his 92nd birthday, but the civil rights icon’s words and speeches have grown to become timeless while greatly contributing to changing the tide of American history.
Not only did King give speeches on the urgency of achieving racial integration in the U.S. but he also gave powerful addresses on the topics of poverty and the war in Vietnam. 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 oration, 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. Many 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