January 20th, 2014
08:24 AM ET

The greatest MLK speeches you never heard

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Here's a pop quiz for anyone who calls the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. an American hero.

Can you name any of his great speeches or written works without citing "I Have a Dream" or the "Letter from Birmingham Jail"?

Most Americans would likely flub this quiz. King may be a national hero whose birthday the country commemorates on Monday, but to many he remains a one-dimensional hero - the vast body of his work unknown. Though he wrote five books and delivered up to 450 speeches a year, he's defined by one speech and one letter.

What then are the great works by King that never get the attention they deserve?

That's the question CNN put to some members of King's inner circle as well as top King scholars. We asked them to pick their favorite overlooked gems from King, any extraordinary spoken or written words people don't typically hear during King commemorations.

Six entries made our final cut: three sermons and speeches, King's most radical book, an astonishing letter he wrote as a college student, and a "eulogy" he delivered for a friend that revealed a side of him the public rarely saw.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity

soundoff (386 Responses)
  1. Lana


    January 30, 2014 at 11:39 am |
  2. Joel

    Daivd, amen Jesus/Yeshua is indeed the Savior of the world. The Promised Messiah of Israel and the Savior of both Jews and Gentiles. Shalom

    January 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      And now returning to the 21 century with an update:

      The Apostles' Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (References used are available upon request.)

      January 24, 2014 at 8:43 am |
      • Matt

        Reality, all you are offering here are what the opponents of Jesus have said through the ages. You do not know the Old Testament (Tanakh). It is written there that Messiah must first suffer and die and rise again before He reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That is exactly what Jesus did. This is found throughout the Holy Scriptures....Psalms, Prohphets, Writings... Reality check my friend. Jesus/Yeshua is the only provision that The Father has provided for our salvation. You must decide who you will follow, men or God. Your decision will determine your eternal future.

        January 29, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
  3. David

    No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” ... For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

    Romans 3

    January 22, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
    • David

      Romans 6:23

      For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

      January 22, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
      • David

        But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

        Romans 5:8

        January 22, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • David

          If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved ... For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

          Romans 10

          January 22, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • David

          So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

          Romans 8

          January 22, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
    • Liz the First

      What does this have to do with MLK?

      January 22, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
      • Barnes

        In case you were ignorant, MLK Jr. is a Christian pastor.

        You might have had a valid point if you had addressed that question to "Archibald Smythe-Pennington, III", you hypocrite!

        January 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • Liz the First

          I am well aware of who MLK is, and your vitriolic post notwithstanding, I see "Archibald Smythe-Pennington, III” in this page. Keep up, dick head troll.

          January 22, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • Liz the First

          I see no whoever. But you're still somewhat of an asshat.

          January 22, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • BBM

          Barnes-You called it a hypocrite. Actually it is a sick troll. Ignore the troll.

          January 22, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
        • BBM

          But then I'm a troll myself, so I can't really call anyone else hypocrite. Sorry Liz.

          January 22, 2014 at 7:43 pm |
        • Barnes

          You hypocrite BBM! Troll.

          January 22, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
        • Liz the First

          Well. Not a troll, but thanks. Same to you.

          January 22, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
  4. Reality # 2

    And if it were not for slavery draining much of the continent of their brightest, Africa today would be a much better place to live.

    January 22, 2014 at 12:15 am |
    • Thad

      If it weren't for the white man continuing to rape Africa of its most precious resources and wealth, Africa would be a much better place to live today.

      January 22, 2014 at 10:51 am |
      • Reality # 2

        Amen to that !!

        January 22, 2014 at 11:22 am |
  5. The coward

    Live4Him has skipped into another topic having been severely bruised on this topic. Standard procedure.

    January 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
    • .

      Thanks, igaftr

      January 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
  6. AE

    "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
    MLK Jr

    January 21, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance.

      - deGràsse Tyson

      January 21, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
      • Science Works

        he does try not to laugh to much though .

        Neil deGrasse Tyson on Science, Religion and the Universe


        January 21, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
      • AE

        “Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

        MLK Jr

        January 21, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • Science Works

          Interesting AE
          Science Works
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.

          Morals/values are not from the bible .
          January 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
          Science Works
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.

          for you AE.

          January 21, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • AE

          I'm not sure what your point is. That post is confusing.

          January 21, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    You mean to tell me,
    that a Jewish zombie can make me live forever,
    if I telepathically accept him as my master…
    all because a talking snake convinced a woman created by one rib
    to eat from a magical tree?

    January 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    • Odin

      You mean to tell me
      first there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs?

      January 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
      • Alias

        There was never nothing.

        January 21, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        there was never nothing. if you're going to be vehemently opposed to a set of facts, you should at least know what those facts are. When you only read your cult's main book and books written by people in your cult, it's not surprising you don't know the facts.

        January 22, 2014 at 10:32 am |
    • Ghost

      Got a different route to immortality? Please let us know.

      January 21, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
  8. igaftr

    OK...Show of hands...how many have seen Live4Him lie, misrepresent science, present false and flawed logic...then be refuted and shown why it is wrong, only to see him return with the same pack of lies time and time again?

    January 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
    • Johnny

      I see it at least 5 times a day.

      January 21, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
    • Tommy Jefferson

      Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them, and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.
      L4H spins its lies every day on this blog but screams ad hominem when ridicule is used, as the real Thomas cited, what else can a reasoning person do.

      January 21, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      it's like groundhog day

      January 21, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Dino soft tissue.
      Therefore, all science is invalid.

      January 21, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • Captain Jack Boyle

      "Isn't all religions curious?–If they weren't you wouldn't get anyone to believe in them."
      Juno and the Payc0ck by Sean O'Cassey
      If L4H has to lie every day to maintain the delusion, what good is the delusion?

      January 21, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • Alias

      Am I really the only one who remembers the story about satan taking jesus to the moon for a day?

      January 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
      • igaftr

        yes...He still did not comprehend that you cannot see all of the earth from the moon.

        January 21, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • Peter

          Or that if you are on the moon you wouldn't need to be on top of a mountain.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:58 am |
      • Thad

        Whhhat? I must have missed that one....

        January 22, 2014 at 10:55 am |
      • Peter

        That is my personal favorite.

        January 22, 2014 at 10:57 am |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    The christian god is terrible at math...

    (7:2-3) "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens."
    (7:13-14) "In the selfsame day" All of the animals boarded the ark "in the selfsame day." With a million or so species (There are more than a million known today.), the animals must have boarded at a rate of at least 10 pairs/second.
    (7:15) "And they went ... into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein there is breath of life."
    (7:8-9) Whether by twos or by sevens, Noah takes representatives from each species of "every thing that creepeth upon the earth." Now this must have taken some time, along with expert knowledge of taxonomy, genetics, biogeography, and anatomy. How did Noah manage to collect the endemic species from the New World, Australia, Polynesia, and other remote regions entirely unknown to him? How, once he found them, did he transport them back to the ark? How could he tell the male and female beetles (there are more than 500,000 species) apart? How did he know how to care for these new and unfamiliar animals? How did he find the space on the ark? How did he manage to find and care for the hundreds of thousands of parasitic species? How did he obtain and care for the hundreds of thousands of species of plants? (Plants are ignored in the Genesis account, but the animals wouldn't last long after if the plants died in the flood.) No, wait, don't tell me. A miracle happened. Millions of them.
    (7:9) "There went in two and two."
    (7:17)"And the flood was forty days upon the earth."
    (7:24) "And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days."

    January 21, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      or maybe just a crappy project manager

      January 21, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
  10. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    An entire page of postings disappeared... somebody's been a bad boy/girl

    January 21, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      your brother?

      January 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Ironically... probably one of Jesus' friends

        January 21, 2014 at 2:37 pm |

    • It's a pattern with the poster Live4Him. Whole conversations disappear. That atheist basher in blue, too.

      January 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
  11. Dyslexic doG

    christians claim that the bible is THE WORD of their omnipotent, perfect god.

    So based on the contradictory, ambiguous, brutal, misogynistic, petulant, scientifically historically and factually incorrect content of the bible, it amazes me that christians would actually worship any deity responsible for saying these contradictory, ambiguous, brutal, misogynistic, petulant, scientifically historically and factually incorrect words.

    If it was the word of a perfect god then the whole book would be PERFECT! Flawless. There would be absolutely no errors! There would be absolutely no contradictions. There would be absolutely no lines that could be ignored by christians or taken as optional and not command. There would be no need for translation or interpretation or explanation or apology because it would be perfect.

    Instead, you have a book that either is not the word of an omnipotent perfect god, or if these ARE his words, he is far from omnipotent and perfect.

    So why would you follow this book, and/or why would you worship this god?

    January 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.