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Remembering and Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Primer

Pay tribute to the activist and icon with our collection of great writing by and about Dr. King.

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There is so much more to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy than his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech—and so many ways to honor his memory. We’ve gathered some of his greatest speeches and letters, from the most notable to the lesser-known, as well as tributes and remembrances from more than 50 years of journalism about the civil rights icon. Plus, ideas for how to be of service to your community, this week and all year round.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer/Getty Images

Give Us the Ballot [LISTEN]

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

May 17, 1957: “But even more, all types of conniving methods are still being used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters. The denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition. And so our most urgent request to the president of the United States and every member of Congress is to give us the right to vote.”

‘I Have a Dream’ Speech, In Its Entirety


August 28, 1963: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

American Rhetoric

April 4, 1967: “We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors.”

The World House [LISTEN]

The King Institute

Dr. Clayborne Carson, director of The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, and Dr. Mira Foster, director of the Liberation Curriculum, talk about anything and everything related to Martin Luther King, Jr., and the freedom struggles he inspired.


Rebecca Burns
Atlanta Magazine

An oral history of the remarkable behind-the-scenes effort to stage Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 funeral and keep peace in Atlanta while 110 other cities burned.

MLK Day of Service


Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.