This Day in Black History: April 3, 1968

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” in Memphis, Tennessee.

Posted: 04/03/2012 07:00 AM EDT

On this day in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tennessee. In his speech, King reflected on his life’s work:

“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!”

Tragically, just one day later, the civil rights leader was assassinated by James Earl Ray as he stood on a balcony at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, leaving behind a legacy of nonviolent resistance against racial and social inequality.

In addition, on this day in 1963, Dr. King led a drive against discrimination in Birmingham, Alabama. The scene turned violent when the city’s police force, led by Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor, unleashed high-powered hoses and dogs against demonstrators.

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(Photo: Barney Sellers/Commercial Appeal/Landov)

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