The 7 Greatest Speeches In Modern History

Published May 3, 2012
Updated March 13, 2017

Greatest Speeches: “The Hope Speech,” Harvey Milk

Milk Group

Wikimedia CommonsHarvey Milk (far left).

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man elected to California public office (on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors) before being shot down and killed by a city supervisor in 1978. During his political career and gay rights activism, he was particularly renowned for his rousing “Hope Speeches” that encouraged equality and envisioned a hopeful future for all citizens. His last hope speech is considered by many to be the best.


“Without hope, not only gays, but those who are blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us’s; without hope the us’s give up. I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you, and you have got to give them hope.”

Enjoy this look at the greatest speeches in modern history? Next, take a look at the best speeches of ancient history. Then, check out the best Oscars speeches of all time.