Yes, I’m Black and I’m Proud of It… – M.L.K. Jr.

TRANSCRIPT: I come here tonight and plead with you, believe in yourself and believe that you’re somebody. As I said to a group last night, nobody else can do this for us. No document can do this for us. No Lincolnian emancipation proclamation can do this for us. No Kennedisonian or Johnsonian civil rights bill can do this for us. If the negro is to be free, he must move down into the inner resources of his own soul and sign with a pen and ink of self assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation.

Don’t let anybody take your manhood. Be proud of our heritage. As somebody said earlier tonight, we don’t have anything to be ashamed of. Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionary and see the synonyms of the word black. It’s always something degrading, low and sinister. Look at the word white. It’s always something pure, high, clean. Well I want to get the language right tonight. I want to get the language so right that everybody here will cry out, “YES! I’M BLACK. I’M PROUD OF IT. I’M BLACK AND BEAUTIFUL!”


Dr. King gave this speech on April 3, 1968 one day before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.