Monday, January 16, 2006

Observing the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

I'm all for observing federal holidays, but I'm especially glad to observe the birthdays of great preachers. So, in the spirit of the day, here are two links to some of the best public speaking of the 20th century. They are not sermons, exactly, but observe the style - these speeches are by a seasoned baptist preacher, employing some of the great homiletic techniques of the black preaching tradition. MLK not only uses patterns of three, repetition, alliteration, and a tendency to weave in apocalyptic passages from scripture. He also accomplishes what is the greatest hallmark of this style: affective movement in the listener.

But don't take it from me. Check the links, and don't just read. Listen.

I have a Dream: even if you've heard it before, listen again.

I've Been to the Mountaintop: MLK as Moses, breaking a simple preaching rule: don't make yourself the hero. But let's give gim a break. He was a great man.

"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!

And 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!!"

From "I've Been to the Mountaintop," delivered 3 April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kim said...

Wonderful quotes and links. He brings tears to my eyes every time I read this.

Sunday, January 22, 2006 7:25:00 PM  
Blogger Maryellen said...

As I teach about MLKjr. in the public school setting, I am happy for the opportunity to point out that his father was a minister and he decided the best way to help his people was to follow in his father's footsteps. Some people try to seperate this great man from his faith. Some "Christians" have even questioned his salvation, since he spent so much time trying to solve "social ills"
But it is very hard to miss the depth of his faith when you really look deeply into his life.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 9:58:00 AM  

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