Greatest American Orators of 20th Century, JFK & MLK

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but, ask, what you can do for your country.”
–JFK

John F. Kennedy perhaps the greatest political operator in American history and perhaps the nations
greatest Orator of the 20th century. Some may argue, what about Martin Luther King Jr.?
How about his ‘I HAVE A DREAM ‘ speech? There is no doubt that Dr. King’s speech in 1963 at the mall in Washington, D.C. is the greatest seventeen-minute speech in all of American history.
I ‘m interested in exploring these two American icons as Orators, who really was the better
Orator between these two men?

Well, first we must ask the question, what is an Orator?
ORATOR- one distinguished for outstanding skill and power as a public speaker.
In my twenty-years of studying the art of public speaking and oratory America does not have a better
Orator than John F. Kennedy. I also do not know of a single American that has given more speeches than JFK; he gave over 10,000 speeches during his short life.

Martin Luther king Jr. to me cannot be held in the title of Orator; he is so much larger than someone who is simply a very eloquent public speaker. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a prophet of the gospel and his voice was that rare spiritual force that come to earth every thousand years.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave 3,500 speeches during his very short life on earth, nonetheless,
he holds his place in American history as one of America’s greatest speakers.

When I think of JFK, he reminds me of an Actor, a very well trained actor who had mastered the medium of television like no one else. His eloquence, style, charm and wit remains something to be admired and emulated. JFK’s greatest speech haunts me today and this week I look inside of myself and I ask:

What can I do for my nation?

Today, in our country there is so much pain, I would go as far to say, our nation is broken.
Black Americans feel an injustice all across the land as more blacks are shot and killed by law enforcement when death should have been avoided. Black Americans are suffering like I have never seen before in my life. Every black person I know is sad as I find myself each morning.

Today, we are absent of great Orators and moral leaders of the past, such as JFK and MLK.
I, personally hold fast to the idea and words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I HAVE DECIDED TO STICK WITH LOVE. HATE IS TOO GREAT A BURDEN TO BEAR.”

I see my country, the land that I love being torn apart by violence, hate and death.
I ask myself again, and again, what can I do for my country?

Long ago on a very cold, brisk January morning John F. Kennedy inspired us (US) to be more, do more and ask less in his great speech.

“ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, BUT ASK, WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY.”
John F. Kennedy

The last speech JFK had in his pocket and one he was never able to deliver, which was found on him after he was killed was from Psalm 111.

I have read it many, many times and it appears to me JFK like MLK was trying to tell us (US)
we really need to pray more, pray for our nation and pray for each other.

Charles Micheaux
Atlanta, Georgia

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