I Have A Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr
The famous civil rights speech. If this piece doesn't make the fine hairs on the back of your neck stand up, best check yourself for a pulse.
Protest by Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon was an English officer during the Great War. In April 1917, he was wounded and evacuated back to England. While he recovered, his disquiet with the conduct of the war became more pronounced, and in July, he issued this public statement. He was publicly reviled, threatened with a court martial, and put into a psychiatric institution, the authorities having decided it was expedient to ascribe his protest to shell-shock. Realising that his rebellion had not achieved his aim, and not wishing to abandon his men, Sassoon returned to the front. It's obvious from the intensity of the language that the author was also a poet. The protest is a powerful document, the more so because of its restraint.
10th July 1985, Auckland Harbour by Steve Sawyer
Steve Sawyer, director of the Greenpeace South Pacific anti-nuclear project, was celebrating his birthday in an Auckland hotel when two explosions sank their ship, the Rainbow Warrior, killing photographer Fernando Pereira. A couple of sentences in this gave me the chills.
Excerpt from the Declaration of Arbroath
In 1320, following protracted wars for independence, Scotland had won its freedom, but was still subject to incursions from England. A group of leading nobles gathered at Arbroath Abbey to write the letter to the Pope from which this is an extract, in support of their chosen king, Robert the Bruce, and in defiance of the invading power. The Scottish people still don't have their independence, although I'm sure their day will come. Nonetheless, this is stirring stuff.
Consider The Evidence
The award-winning movie Boys Don't Cry was a thought-provoking piece of cinema, dealing with events leading up to the rape and murder of a young female-to-male transexual person. Unfortunately, it was based on a true story. This piece is an excerpt from the transcript of the trial of one of the murderers, and as such reconstructs the mindset of the criminals involved. It's hard to know whether to be more horrified at their evil or their stupidity. But I include it because it is interesting to see due process at work, not to mention fascinating to see the evildoers meet their nemesis.