Today marks the 45th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King’s seminal “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech, which he gave in Memphis, Tennessee. It is one of the most significant orations of the 20th century; an impromptu talk King gave at the last minute. He had just arrived in Memphis to lend spiritual support to Black garbage collectors who had gone on strike. He was tired and simply wanted to retire for the evening. But, a crowd had gathered at the Mason Temple in Memphis, eagerly anticipating his arrival. King’s associates finally convinced him to speak to them. He would be dead less than twenty-four hours later.
I grew up reading about King, but never thought much of him until long after his birth was memorialized into a federal holiday. He, of course, didn’t live to see goals of a truly integrated society come to fruition. But, his spirit lives and thrives well in the hearts of anyone who has ever fought for social justice.