Arizona State University

ASU Professor of English Keith Miller shares his newest book, "Martin Luther King's Biblical Epic: His Final, Great Speech."

Martin Luther King Jr.'s final hour-long speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," is best known today for its concluding two minutes, wherein King compares himself to Moses and seems to predict his own assassination. Miller analyzes King's approach to the Bible and its importance to his rhetoric, arguing that King actually challenged the dominant view that Christianity replaces the preceding Jewish sacraments in favor of a Christianity that affirms Judaism as its wellspring. Miller also traces the roots of the speech to its Pentecostal setting and audience, which made possible the unique connection between King and the crowd on the night of his last speech.

Keith Miller is a Professor in the Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. In his research, Keith Miller mainly focuses on the rhetoric and songs of the civil rights movement. He is the author of Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Its Sources, which was favorably reviewed in the Washington Post and is widely cited. His essays on Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Jackie Robinson, Frederick Douglass, C.L. Franklin, and Fannie Lou Hamer have appeared in many scholarly collections and in such leading journals as College English, College Composition, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and Journal of American History.


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