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Martin Luther Speeches

Martin Luther King Jr. is a man whose life has become immortal and celebrated year after year. To many, it was his speeches that helped to expand the rights of African Americans everywhere and offer small victories against others. It was his speeches that made him a leader who brought concrete legislation but shared hopes and dreams. His speeches focused on ideas of civil rights, then economic equality, and finally against the Vietnam War.

Martin Luther King Jr. received theological training before returning to Montgomery to become a pastor. He was free from the regular inter-church politics and with that become the leader for the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. King was brought to the crux of media attention that year after he held the long non-violent protest that resulted in a Supreme Court ruling against segregation on buses. It was his work here that led to the forming of the SCLS, which was an alliance of ministers and churches for black southerners. He was elected the president of this group and began to use his position to fight other civil rights battles.

He was able to refine his efforts when he partook of peaceful protests in Birmingham and gained favor for civil rights legislation following the very public attack by police against the peaceful protestors. The episodes of police brutality coupled with his famously peaceful speeches brought about legislation changes such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As civil rights changes were made he started to focus his efforts on economic issues for blacks. He used his speeches to concentrate at this time on class and race, and to address the nation as a whole. In 1964 he received the Nobel Peace Prize which ensured his efforts would be widened.

He began to speak out against the Vietnam War and at the time of his death he had organized a people’s march on Washington. Until the time of his death he continued to speak out against injustices of all varieties.

Overall his speeches changed in meaning as his efforts changed politically. He began making speeches about equal rights and civil rights among blacks and whites. As he began to see legislation changes and success, his speeches changed and focused on economic disparities. As these began to change he turned his focus toward the Vietnam War and continued to speak out until his death.


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