MLK’s “I’ve Been to the Moutaintop”

This mini-lesson on purpose and self-sacrifice was developed by the Character Formation Project.

Martin Luther King Jr


Self-Sacrifice: Self-sacrifice is purposeful action exchanging personal loss for the good of others.

Big Question: How can we act less selfishly?


On April 3, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in a church in Memphis, TN to a packed audience of non-violent protesters who had gathered in the city to shine a light on a long pattern of racial discrimination and discrimination toward black city employees. The next day he was assassinated.

In his rousing final speech, King refers to the attempts by city officials to prevent demonstrations by issuing injunctions against the protestors but he declares that he will not be stopped by the injustice.


(Add a comment to the question to record your answer. )

M.L.K. was aware of his purpose in life. (1-Strongly Disagree…5 Strongly Agree)

M.L.K. did everything in his power to fulfill his purpose, despite obstacles like death threats and fear. (1-Strongly Disagree…5 Strongly Agree)


King received many death threats in the months before he arrived in Memphis. Despite this, he came to Memphis and gave his iconic speech. Take a moment to reflect on his unwavering dedication to his purpose.

Take at least one minute, use the video below to keep track of time if you like.

One Minute Reflection

After taking a minute to reflect what did you discover about your own identity or purpose? (Write a comment to yourself or share it with the community)

King gave everything, including his life, to further his purpose. Take a moment to reflect on your own purpose in life. How can you work towards it persistently like King, even in the face of fear?

Think of one way you can further your purpose in the next week.

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