So far I’ve taught 10 different classes at Houston Baptist University how to give a persuasive speech at some point during the semester. And every year, I show a clip of Dr. Martin Luther King giving his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. Now it’s not nearly as famous as his “I have a Dream” speech but yet it is so prophetic and so masterful that it cannot go unnoticed.
And this year I just happened to show it during the anniversary week of Dr. Martin Luther Kings death.
April 4, 1968.
This was not a speech Dr. King was intending on giving…impromptu is what we communication instructors call that. He was sick and had sent someone to speak in his place. However when the crowds became upset, he agreed to come speak.
And the foreshadowing in the speech is chilling. To know that only hours later his eyes were truly “seeing the glory” is unbelieveable. To know the night before his death he said he was not afraid - that he would take what came. Mind boggeling.
Each time I see it, I can’t help but be drawn into his message.
Most of my students have never heard this speech. I show them how powerfully he pulls off a crescendo ending towards the close of the speech. All extemporaneously.
And so, today, if you have never heard it, it’s worth a few minutes of your time.
I think it’s brillant.
He begins by telling about his hospitilization after a deranged black woman stabbed him at a book signing. Which again, is perfect. Speeches always need a story.
I’d give him an “A”.