On April 3rd 1968 Martin Luther King addressed the people congregated in the Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ Headquarters) in Memphis, Tennessee. On the next day, King was assassinated.
The speech, which has become known as the “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” speech, is regarded as one of modern times defining speeches. Broaching subjects from war and peace, socialism, equality and finally hinting at his possible assassination, King’s oratory sweeps away the listener no matter their political persuasion.
Concentrating on the conditions and case of the Memphis Sanitation Workers, King calls for divestment and boycott by black people from suppression by capital enterprises. Regarding the strike he calls for unity and solidarity and defeating conditions by non-violent protest. Many commentators, more recently, believe that King was seen as more of a threat to capitalism and that was why he was targeted rather than for his pro-black equality stance.
The speech finishes with what can be heard as prophetic. He puts himself in the footsteps of Moses being led to the mountaintop. Moses was shown the promised land but God told him he would never reach it himself. Moses died and Joshua led the people on to the promised land. The morning after this speech King was shot dead.