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What Mountaintop Was Martin Luther King Talking About?

Updated on April 14, 2014

Was he referring to Stone Mountain In Georgia?

"I've been to The mountaintop, and I've looked over and  I've seen the promised land."
"I've been to The mountaintop, and I've looked over and I've seen the promised land." | Source

The Famous Mountaintop Speech

The night before he was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee, Martin Luther King made his famous "I've been to the Mountaintop" speech. In my research I was unable to find any information about what mountain top (if any) he was actually talking about, but in many of his writings and speeches including "I have a dream" he mentions Stone Mountain, which is located few miles northwest of his beloved home town of Atlanta. I can not say for sure it was Stone Mountain where he had this revelation, but it sure could have been. I have visited that location several times to just look around. On a clear day you can see forever, and if a person had his vision and spirituality and if you had enough faith, one might, just be able to see "the promised land." Even if you can't Stone Mountain is still a great place to visit and reflect.

Stone Mountain Is Now Very Different.

A person pondering about what King may have been thinking about would need to consider that Stone Mountain in the 1960's was much different than the Stone Mountain of today. The Confederate Memorial carving on the Mountain side was completed on May 9, 1970, two years after King had died. So if King wanted to do some thinking from this mountaintop he could have done so but it would have taken a lot more effort to get there than it does for tourists who visit what is now an impressive vacation destination. Back in his day, King would have had to walk to reach the top. Certainly not impossible because it is about a mile long hike but King probably had other things to do with his time and energy, and I would imagine his thought process was just as clear at sea level as it would be on any mountaintop.

Confederate Memorial Carving

The carved surface measures 3 acres and is larger than a football field and Mt. Rushmore.
The carved surface measures 3 acres and is larger than a football field and Mt. Rushmore. | Source

Stone Mountain A Must See.

My guess is King probably used Stone Mountain simply to make a point in his famous speeches. He also mentioned Lookout Mountain in Tennessee as well as many others. In someone's infinite wisdom they decided to create a park with the Stone Mountain as a centerpiece and if you visit the Atlanta area and need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city Stone Mountain would be a good choice.

Breathtaking View From The Top.

I could not help but want to have a picture taken with that beautiful backdrop. An untouched photo.
I could not help but want to have a picture taken with that beautiful backdrop. An untouched photo. | Source

A High Point In Georgia.

In the distance in the haze you can see the Atlanta skyline. Park Rangers say that on a clear day you can see the Appalachian Mountains 60 miles to the north.
In the distance in the haze you can see the Atlanta skyline. Park Rangers say that on a clear day you can see the Appalachian Mountains 60 miles to the north. | Source

There Is Something For Everyone.

Stone Mountain Park is extremely family friendly. Some of the activities include:

  • Summit Skyride
  • Geyser Towers
  • Skyhike
  • Scenic Railroad
  • Ride The Ducks
  • Spectacular Lazer Show (In Mountainvision)


Children Activities.

A Fun Time For All.
A Fun Time For All. | Source

Family Memories Are Made Here.

Wherever you turn there seems to be a great photo opportunity to capture and enjoy. Amateur and professional photographers can have a field day.

The perfect picture.

A little help from a pretty backdrop. But great for the family album.
A little help from a pretty backdrop. But great for the family album. | Source

Not The Rocky Mountains But Memorable.

Check out the view when you come down south. You will be glad you did.
Check out the view when you come down south. You will be glad you did. | Source

Easy To Reach Location. Once You Get Out Of The City Of Atlanta.

Conclusion:

I set this article up by referencing parts of the Martin Luther King mountaintop speech. I did that because I think if Dr. King could see modern day Stone Mountain Park that he would be impressed and it would be the kind of place he may would want to spend time reflecting and meditating. I would encourage you to put Stone Mountain on your list of places to go. You will not be disappointed. And Oh. By the way. The three historical figures carved into the mountain are: Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. How's that for a dose of southern history and culture? Enjoy.

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      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      Of all the places people have been writing about in hubs, this is the first one I've read about someplace I've been. It really is worth the trip if anyone is in the area or needs an idea for someplace to go. In fact, if I'm ever back down there, I'll have to do some of the activities you mentioned because I didn't get to the top or see the light show.

    • Rick Whitlow profile image
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      Rick Whitlow 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks Sheila. It is a very interesting place to visit.

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