The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preaches to his congregation in Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., on April 30, 1967, as he urges America to repent and abandon what he called its "Tragic, reckless adventure in Vietnam." (AP Photo)
On this Martin Luther King Day, 2021, the Free Speech Center remembers and honors a man who, despite all odds against him, peacefully exercised his First Amendment rights to worship, speak, write, assemble, and petition, to help bring about justice and civil rights in the United States for all men and women.
In his final speech before his assassination in April 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said this:
“All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper.’
“If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand some of these illegal injunctions. Maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there.
“But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.”