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Home » MLK: Nobel Peace Prize Lecture 1964 Speech (Full Transcript)

MLK: Nobel Peace Prize Lecture 1964 Speech (Full Transcript)

Full text [Edited Transcript] of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture titled “The Quest for Peace and Justice” which was delivered in the Auditorium of the University of Oslo on December 11, 1964.

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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – American Baptist minister and activist

Mr. [Gunnar] Jahn, Mr. [August] Schou and to all of the members of the Nobel Committee, ladies and gentlemen. It is impossible to begin this lecture without again expressing my deep appreciation to the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament for bestowing upon me and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States such a great honor.

Occasionally in life, there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot completely be explained by those symbols called words. Their meaning can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart. Such is the moment I am presently experiencing.

I experience this high and joyous moment, not for myself alone, but for those devotees of non-violence who have moved so courageously against the ramparts of racial injustice, and who in the process have acquired a new estimate of their own human worth. Many of them are young and cultured. Others are middle-aged and middle-class.

The majority are poor and untutored. But they are all united in the quiet conviction that it is better to suffer in dignity than accept segregation in humiliation. They are the real heroes of the freedom struggle; they are the noble people for whom I accept the Nobel Peace Prize.

I would like to say also that it is a habit experience to know that so many friends who have worked closely with me over the last few years in this struggle were willing to go into their pocketbooks and their means and their humble financial situations, and to come to Oslo to be a part of this experience.

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