Remembering Martin Luther King Jr., Who Touched Crowds With His Words

January 21, 2019

Originally published on January 21, 2019 7:10 am

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 90 years old this year. And on today's holiday, the nation takes time to commemorate his legacy.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And, of course, a big part of that legacy stems from how King was able to touch so many people with his oratory.

MARTIN: And on this day, we take the opportunity to remember some of his words. This, from the "I Have A Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR: 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.

(APPLAUSE)

GREENE: And King's call for justice extended beyond America's shores. In a 1967 speech in New York City, he spoke out against the war in Vietnam.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

KING JR: We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls enemy.

MARTIN: We've come to honor Martin Luther King Jr. by coming together for acts of service on this day. It's the kind of unity that King called for.

GREENE: And what gave him hope, even when progress toward the America he envisioned seemed slow.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

KING JR: 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.

(SOUNDBITE OF CRAIG ARMSTRONG'S "IF YOU SHOULD FALL") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.