The audience at Martin Luther King’s speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” was formed by all those gathered at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee, during the Memphis sanitation strike. However, the speech was also recorded and covered by the media, so King’s overall audience was national and international.

In the speech, King begins by addressing Ralph Abernathy, who was also a clergyman and a leader within the Civil Rights Movement, and who spoke before King: “Thank you very kindly, my friends. As I listened to Ralph Abernathy and his eloquent and generous introduction…”

Furthermore, the speaker targets other clergymen, using them as role models for other preachers who—according to King—should get involved in supporting the strike and other protests: “And I want to commend the preachers, under the leadership of these noble men: James Lawson, one who has been in this struggle for many years (...) Reverend Ralph Jackson, Billy Kiles…”

If you listen to the audio recording of the speech or look for an exact transcript of it, you will discover that the audience often interrupts King with ap...

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