The Landmark Speeches and Sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This collection of the speeches and sermons, by a man who is considered by many to be the preeminent speaker of the 20th century, is nothing short of inspiring. The words and their delivery place the listener in the pews of a southern baptist church (and several other locations) while Martin Luther King sermonizes on the Civil Rights Movement, various biblical passages, human frailty, our dependance on God, the power of nonviolent protest, his being arrested, and a host of other topics of historical and theological interest. The sheer power of Dr. King’s voice and the fact that one can hear this great man speak by way of these recordings is as moving and uplifting as it must have been to hear him speak when he was alive. It is possible to glimpse the magical way that he stirred a nation to dramatically change the way it treated the poor and minorities.
This is a slice of history and a chance to learn from one of the greatest teachers that ever lived. The cadence of his speech, with its perfectly timed pauses, rhythmically rising and falling volume, and emotional quaver is mesmerizing. What is more, these speeches are all memorable. Dr. King seems able to speak directly to the soul and to grab your heart and yank you to attention. One has no doubt that the lessons he is giving in each sermon are the most important examples in the moment. He pulls us into his world and his present and demands our dedication to what he has to show us.
Included in these sermons and speeches are many in which Martin Luther King alludes to the likelihood that he will die young and will not see the fulfillment of his dream. The speeches where this occurs are indeed sad, knowing as we do what happens in the end. But he faces this knowledge with both a naked fear and a bravery to continue on as long as he can. And in this way and in many others, Dr. King is vulnerable to us in all his sermons and speeches. Each and every time he spoke, he exposed his heart and his soul for his congregation and the world. This, I think, is one of the main reasons that he was such an effective speaker. He was fully vulnerable and open when he spoke. Listen to these sermons and speeches and be inspired with hope for a better future.