Listen to MLK’s 1964 Nobel Prize lecture
For the first time since it was delivered 51 years ago, it is now possible to hear Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in its entirety.
Nobelprize.org released the rare recording of King’s 1964 address today on Facebook. Its release coincides with the 30th anniversary of the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States.
King delivered the lecture on Dec. 11, 1964, in Oslo, Norway. The Prize was awarded for King’s nonviolent protests against racial segregation and economic injustice in the American South during the early 1960s. King accepted the Prize on behalf of the civil rights movement as a whole.
Clayborne Carson, director of the King Institute at Stanford University, characterized the address as one of King’s “most important speeches,” one that “lays out his goals for the remainder of his life [and] addresses the problems of racial injustice, poverty and war as global evils rather than specific American problems.”
The text version of the speech had been published previously in the Nobel Foundation’s annual Les Prix Nobel, which compiles biographies of a given year’s Nobel Laureates as well as transcripts of their lectures. The audio differs from it the text several ways, most notably at the end, where King quotes the spiritual coda of his earlier “I Have a Dream” speech, saying “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” It is not known at present why the audio of the speech was not released sooner. The Nobel Prize Lecture has been a requirement of all Nobel Laureates since the inception of the awards in 1901.