Martin Luther King, Jr. Traveled About 6 Million Miles Between 1957 And 1968
By Nadia-Elysse Harris
Most people forget that Martin Luther King, Jr. was just 39 years old when he died on that fateful day in 1968. But according to Youth For Human Rights, he managed to travel about six million miles in his short life. Here, we look back at some of his most memorable journeys and the speeches that still resonate so deeply today.
From March 4 to March 12, 1957 young Dr. King visited Ghana to celebrate the country’s independence. In a radio interview on March 6, 1957, he expressed how Ghana’s freedom served as an example for the oppressed worldwide.
“This event, the birth of this new nation, will give impetus to oppressed peoples all over the world,” he said. “I think it will have worldwide implications and repercussions—not only for Asia and Africa, but also for America… It renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice. And it seems to me that this is fit testimony to the fact that eventually the forces of justice triumph in the universe, and somehow the universe itself is on the side of freedom and justice. So that this gives new hope to me in the struggle for freedom.”
Dr. King traveled to Germany in September 1964 and gave a speech in Berlin. At that time, the Berlin wall was only 3 years old. He spoke in both East and West Germany. More here:
Of course, Dr. King did the majority of his traveling within the U.S., going across the nation to spread his message at churches, rallies, and protests.
In 1962, he gave a speech in New York City about the significance of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Dr. King arrived in Los Angeles in 1965 to address the Watts riots and encourage a peaceful resolution.
In March 1965, Dr. King lead a group of 8,000 activists on a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in an effort to secure the right to vote.
In August 1963, Dr. King gave what would become his most famous speech in Washington, D.C. To a crowd of thousands, he declared: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Dr. King’s final speech would take place at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. His “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” speech has been hailed by some as prophetic.
“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place,” he said. “But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.”