When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, the news shocked the world.
The day before, King gave his last speech, known today as the “Mountaintop” speech—one that some would call a prophecy.
The civil rights leader went to Memphis, Tenn., to shed light on the inequalities faced by Memphis sanitation workers, but he also talked about the power of the black dollar and economic empowerment.
But toward the end of the speech, King’s tone changed. He started to talk about his mortality. The activist acknowledged the death threats he’d received and even recounted a time that he had been stabbed in the chest. According to doctors, had King sneezed, he would have died.
“If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been in Memphis to see a community rally around those brothers and sisters who are suffering,” said King, adding, “I’m so happy that I didn’t sneeze.”
Finally, King took the crowded church in Memphis to the mountaintop:
“We got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter to me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. 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.”
The crowd roared.
See the entire video above.