Dr. King's 1962 Speech in NYC
- New York 01/18/2016 by NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering his address to the New York State Civil War Centennial Commission at the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York City on September 12, 1962.
On September 12, 1962, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech in New York City to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the issuance of Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
In a measured but passionate tone, Dr. King reviewed the history of human rights in America, noting that the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation had fallen far short of achieving equality for all of its citizens.
At the end of the speech, Dr. King quotes a preacher (former slave) who he says "didn't quite have his grammar right but uttered words of great symbolic profundity."
"Lord, we ain't what we oughta be. We ain't what we want to be. We ain't what we gonna be. But, thank God, we ain't what we was."
Audio recording courtesy of the NYS Education Department and NYS Museum