Perhaps the most famous black preacher of all time, Dr. Martin Luther King, electrified striking sanitation workers with his "I've Been To The Mountaintop" sermon. This was the last speech King gave before his death in 1968.
This speech represents how black gospel sermons often mingle religious imagery with themes of social justice and political reform. Near the end of the speech, King compared himself with Moses, who saw the Promised Land from Mount Nebo but died before he could enter it. King said he had also seen a Promised Land of racial equality, but didn't know if he would live to see this prophetic vision unfold. On the following day, King was assassinated.
Reverend C.L Franklin gave another well-known sermon, "Dry Bones In The Valley," which reached a huge audience in the 1940s through radio and vinyl records. The sermon spoke of God's power to heal a nation after a time of national trauma.
In 1878, Reverend John J. Jasper gave "De Sun Do Move," a sermon that helped earn Jasper a place in the history of black Christianity. Given in the vernacular of freed black slaves, this speech referenced the wonder of God's creation and was appreciated by blacks and whites alike.