King’s masterful speaking still inspires

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Nearly 37 years after his death, the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. still inspire us.

Was it the words themselves? His tone? His magnificent voice?

The answer, of course, is all of those things &045; and more. King used the great devices of rhetoric, but his language was at once poetic and simple. He had a talented voice that rose and fell to emphasize his words, words that even in letters that were never spoken seem to leap from the page.

Email newsletter signup

But Martin Luther King was more than a good speaker. One of his greatest qualities, as many in the Miss-Lou told us this week, is that he believed what he was saying &045; and his audiences could see his sincerity. As a preacher, he knew how to reach out to the masses &045; and how to use God’s words and God’s teachings along with the principles of non-violence.

On the night before he died in Memphis, King gave a prophetic speech, ending with these words:

&uot;We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place.

&uot;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.

&uot;But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And 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.&uot;