Dr. Martin Luther King's Last Speech"
The day before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered what came to be known as the "Mountaintop" speech. He ended by referring to a bomb threat against his plane as he was flying in to deliver the speech:
And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
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! And 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!
The next day, on April 4, 1968, Dr. King was fatally shot by James Earl Ray at the Lorraine Motel.
Dr. King's birthday became a federal holiday over great opposition. President Ronald Reagan threatened to veto the bill. Senator Jesse Helms doubted that King was important enough to receive such an honor, also calling King a socialist. Sen. John McCain opposed the bill, claiming that giving workers another day off would be bad for the budget. It didn't matter. The bill was passed by an veto-proof landslide. South Carolina was the last state to observe the holiday in 2000.
Dr. King made America a far better nation. It's regrettable that he had to give his life to do so.