Memphis and the Final Days of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memphis holds a sorrowful place in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. The evening before his death, Dr. King delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ, a speech that famously addressed the possibility of his death but reaffirmed his fearlessness in the face of the opposition:
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really 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. 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. So 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.”
Dr. King’s final speech and subsequent murder brought worldwide attention to the fight for civil rights.