Original Post Date: 1-21-10
Martin Luther King Jr. – April 3, 1968 Memphis, TN – Final Speech – I’ve Been to the Mountaintop
[ ] indicate where the reversal occurs. Click on the reversal to hear the mp3 file.
Brackets [ ] indicate where the reversal occurs. Click on the reversal to hear the mp3 file.
The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya: A[ccra, Ghana; New York City]; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee the cry is always the same "We want to be free."
(Background of what he had said just prior to the audio clip. He described how he was stabbed in the chest by a woman while doing a book signing. He felt that his wounds were so severe that if he sneezed he would have died. He continued by reading a letter from a young girl which contained the following: "Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the Whites Plains High School." She said, "While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I'm simply writing you to say that I'm so happy that you didn't sneeze.")
And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I am happy that I didn't sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters. And I knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream. [And taking the whole nation back to those great] wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
I wouldn't have been down in Selma, Alabama, to see the [great movement there]. If I had sneezed.
I wouldn't have been in Memphis to see a community rally around those brothers and sisters who are suffering. I'm so happy that I didn't sneeze. And they were telling me, now it doesn't matter now. [It really doesn't matter what happens now].
used here may mean: power; might; strength)
(“Arms” used here may mean: power; might; strength)
What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't really matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. [Like anybody, I would like to live] a long life.
(According to David J. Oates Metaphors in Reverse Speech Dictionary, “Lion” used here may mean a metaphor for love; the ability to connect with others.)
Longevity has its place. [But I'm not concerned about that now]. I just want to do God's will.
And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. 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 a[s a people will get to the Promised Land].
So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not [fearing any man. Mine eye]s have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.