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Martin Luther King's Biblical EpicHis Final, Great Speech$
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Keith D. Miller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781617031083

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617031083.001.0001

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date: 22 July 2018

I’m Delighted to See Each of You Here Tonight

I’m Delighted to See Each of You Here Tonight

Pentecostalism and Mason Temple

(p.62) Chapter 3 I’m Delighted to See Each of You Here Tonight
Martin Luther King's Biblical Epic

Keith D. Miller

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter focuses on Mason Temple, the national headquarters for the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and the setting of Martin Luther King Jr.’s final speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Mason Temple accommodated a larger crowd than any other available facility, allowing Ralph Abernathy, King’s boon companion, to convince him on the night of April 3, 1968 to speak before thousands of garbage workers on strike in Memphis. The chapter first examines Mason Temple’s stellar architecture and the presence of a Pentecostal bishop’s tomb in its vestibule before analyzing King’s oratory in relation to Pentecostalism. Drawing on the scholarship of Cheryl Sanders and Anthea Butler, among others, it then places King’s speech in the context of the Pentecostal beliefs and practices of some of his listeners. Finally, the chapter comments on Rev. James O. Patterson, the bishop of COGIC and minister at Mason Temple who strongly backed the garbage workers’ strike, and C. H. Mason, the founder of COGIC.

Keywords:   strike, Mason Temple, Martin Luther King, speech, God in Christ, garbage workers, Memphis, Pentecostalism, James O. Patterson

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