‘I May Not Get There With You’ — Remembering MLK’s Final Speech

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It’s Martin Luther King Jr. day. If you’re a teacher, or postal worker, you’re probably enjoying a day off. Otherwise… doubtful. More and more often, federal holidays are only notable in that they get their own Google doodle.

In our collective busy states, it’s all too easy to disregard the massive significance of the person we’re meant to be honoring. So, let’s take a few minutes to remember that MLK was a profoundly important figure in the history of this country. His words, actions, and leadership inspired change. He taught us the power of protest. He helped us form a more perfect union.

Try listening to a few of Dr. King’s speeches today. Feel the urgency and passion that reverberate through each syllable. Marvel at the dexterous way he uses words and cadence to create not just idealistic rhetoric, but genuine upwellings of emotion paired with a real calls to action. Thank him for giving his very life for a movement that made the country and indeed the entire world a better place.

King had a sense that he wouldn’t get the chance to see his vision — described so poetically in the “I Have a Dream” speech — through to completion. Still, his final address, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” charted a path for us all. A path which is still strewn with difficulties. We aren’t there yet, but King saw the promised land and his words can urge us forward.

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t 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 — 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, as 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 eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

Here’s hoping Dr. King’s words can continually be received across our society and across political lines as a call to action from one of the greatest leaders in the history of this nation.

Full text of “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop.”

Full video of “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop.”

Full text of “I Have A Dream.”

Full video of “I Have a Dream.”

This is an updated version of an article that ran in January 2016.