10 Facts on Martin Luther King for a Speech

Topics and ideas
Posted on April 25, 2016

If you are writing a speech about Martin Luther King, Jr., you will need some facts to include into your text. Below are ten great items which will help you in your writing:

  1. Martin Luther King, Sr., devoted his life to correcting injustices. This way of living was something passed down to his son who preached not just about Civil Rights, but about equality. His confrontations against segregation began in January 1935, when he organized a protest against the segregated courthouse elevators in his home town. Eight months after that he tried to get African Americans registered to vote. In 1939, Martin Luther King, Sr. had his famous march to the city hall in Atlanta. This march was accompanied by several hundred other supports, all of whom were attempting to demonstrate to current leadership the political strength within African Americans. Martin Luther King, Jr. followed in the beliefs of his father that people across the entire nation could use their vote to bring real change to laws.
  2. Martin Luther King, Jr. held great admiration for the ministers in Atlanta and his father, all of whom spoke up for civil rights. It was this obsession, this reverence of language and the power of words which enticed Martin Luther King, Jr. He had attended school where he would eventually gain entrance to college and become ordained as a minister. He was able to stir the minds and hearts of those who listened to him. With a degree in sociology and a passion for religion, Martin Luther King, Jr. started to fight the justice and inequality with the same power and strength that his father had used before him.
  3. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X appeared about this same time fighting for justice and racial equality. As a minister, he incorporated teachings of Ghandi and advocated nonviolent methods of protest. He led the March on Washington in 1963 which was a very large political rally where over 300,000 people marched and there were 200,000 police officers. The march was congregated around jobs and economic freedom. It was here that Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous speech entitled, “I Have a Dream”. In 1954 Brown v. Board of Education had taken place and declared that state-sponsored segregation in schools was against the constitution.
  4. King had been embarrassed by his first march in Memphis which ended in violence. It was here that he pledged to return to rectify the situation he had left. His reasoning for returning was due to a mental change in race to economics. He needed to change his civil rights movement focus to include economics and this required a return to Memphis.
  5. Legislative headway was made by the federal government with initiatives that included the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Leaders from within the African American community that became well known during the Civil Rights era for their efforts included Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and many others.
  6. The most effective leader to emerge from the boycott movement was Martin Luther King, Jr. who had not only understood the much larger significance of the boycott but also realized that blacks living in the south could make strides through the use of nonviolent tactics. This movement in Montgomery eventually led to the development of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a clergy-led organization with King serving as president, in 1957. Within three years a wave of sit-ins were taking place to spur the end of segregation at lunch counters in the south. Such protests spread rapidly throughout the South and eventually lead to the founding of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in 1960.
  7. His speech the day he was assassinated concerned the strike by Memphis Sanitation. Changing his focus to economics, King spoke about economic actions, boycotts, nonviolent protest, and unity. He cited the book of Exodus, the parable of the Good Samaritan, teachings of Jesus, and the prophet Amos. He referred to death threats near the end, saying that they didn’t matter because he was on a mountain top and didn’t mind. He stated he had no fear and had seen the Promised Land and that, as a people, they will get the Promised Land. He ended the speech with the first line of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
  8. The assassinations of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X along with significant government repression as well as the infighting that occurred in the black militant community resulted in a decline of protest activity following the 1960s. Even so, a permanent effect was left on society in America as a result of the Civil Rights Movement. Overt forms of discrimination and segregation finally came to an end while anti-black violence in the South declined as well. In communities where blacks had once been forbidden to vote, black candidates were elected to political offices. American democracy had been transformed by the modern African-American civil rights movement, much in the same way as similar movements had previously altered the country.
  9. The method of non-violent protest was also widely used during the mid-20th century by civil rights activists. In this case, the philosophy of non-violence was typically rooted heavily in religion. In order to be successful, a non-violent protest required the support of most of the black population as well as active participation by that population. Therefore, a successful protest required the active support of church leaders.
  10. When activists in Montgomery wanted to organize a bus boycott, it was their ministers they turned to for support and leadership. It was their actions, under the leadership of Martin Luther King, that would set the tone for the future peaceful civil rights protests that would shape the decade and finally bring about change. In his reform efforts, King often talked about self-sacrifice and love. Such non-violent protests were inspired by King’s visit to India, which solidified his belief in the power of massive non-violent resistance. In the early to mid-1960s, the use of both bodies and lives became one of the most prevalent forms of protest.

These facts should get you up the speed with all the needed information for your potential speech. You will find a lot of great additional intel for a speech in our 20 topics and 1 sample essay on Martin Luther King and also our in-depth guide on speech writing one on your own.

Autobiography Of Martin Luther King Jr.. London: IPM in association with Little Brown and Co., 1999. Print.
King, Martin Luther, and Alex Ayres. The Wisdom Of Martin Luther King, Jr.. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Meridian, 1993. Print.
King, Martin Luther, and Clayborne Carson. The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr.. New York: Intellectual Properties Management in association with Warner Books, 1998. Print.
King, Martin Luther, and Coretta Scott King. The Words Of Martin Luther King, Jr.. New York: Newmarket Press, 1983. Print.
King, Martin Luther, and James Melvin Washington. A Testament Of Hope. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986. Print.
King, Martin Luther, Clayborne Carson, and Kris Shepard. A Call To Conscience. New York: IPM (Intellectual Properties Management), in association with Warner Books, 2001. Print.
King, Martin Luther, Clayborne Carson, and Ralph E Luker. Called To Serve. Berkeley, Calif. [u.a.]: Univ. of California Press, 1992. Print.
King, Martin Luther. Stride Toward Freedom. Print.

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