In Brief

Martin Luther King Jr. - the best quotes from a great American orator

50 years on from the civil rights leader’s assassination, his intellectual legacy lives on

Half a century ago today, the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead by a sniper as he stood on the balcony outside his hotel room in Memphis.

The assassination, the work of a disgruntled white racist, was a tragic and premature end to the life of America’s foremost civil rights activist and one of its most quoted orators.

King’s most famous words are those he spoke on 28 August 1963 to a crowd of 250,000 in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington, a rally for economic and social justice for black Americans that was beamed into millions of homes across the world.

The address, which would go down in history as the “I Have A Dream” speech, captured the trial and tribulations of black Americans and voiced a stirring inspirational vision for a future where Americans of all races would be free.

The speech closed with the uplifting image of a day “when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’”

Click on the gallery above to see some of the most inspiring and insightful quotes from King’s speeches, sermons and essays.

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