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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: 21 July 2018

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

Julia Ward Howe, the Bible, and Memphis

(p.129) Chapter 7 Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory
Martin Luther King's Biblical Epic

Keith D. Miller

University Press of Mississippi

In his final speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” Martin Luther King Jr. describes his near-assassination in Harlem in 1958 and explains his visit to the mountaintop, his sight of the Promised Land, before predicting his own possible death and proclaiming the Second Coming of Christ. This chapter examines King’s recollection of his near-fatal stabbing in Harlem and his discussion of his own possible death in relation to his narration of African American progress, Moses, the Exodus, the Promised Land, the Revelation, and the Second Coming. It also analyzes the complex meaning of King’s final sentence, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!,” a quotation from Julia Ward Howe’s anthem “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The chapter discusses Howe’s lyrics and shows how King intertwines his narration of the garbage workers’ strike in Memphis with imagery from both Howe and the Bible.

Keywords:   death, Martin Luther King, Revelation, Julia Ward Howe, Battle Hymn, garbage workers, strike, Memphis, Bible

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