And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.
And I don’t mind.
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!
And so I’m happy, tonight.
I’m not worried about anything.
I’m not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!
One mundane explanation is that MLK had experienced several threats on his life in the days prior to this speech. He also understood I think he was having a significant effect on society and people were hearing what he had to say (considered by some to be dangerous at that time). It wouldn’t have been unreasonable for him to be afraid he may not live much longer. What I took from it that is meaningful, beyond his overall message, is he stuck to his moral compass regardless of what the consequences may be for him.