CommonLit is a free collection of fiction and nonfiction for 5th-12th grade classrooms. Search and filter our collection by lexile, grade, theme, genre, literary device, or common core standard.
President Reagan's Speech at the Brandenburg Gate
President Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan delivers this famous speech imploring General Secretary Gorbachev to take down the Berlin Wall and reunite Germany.
‘Why Sit Here and Die’ Speech
Maria W. Stewart
Maria W. Stewart speaks to the New England Anti-Slavery Society about the status and rights of African Americans.
Elie Wiesel's Nobel Acceptance Speech
Elie Wiesel accepts the Nobel Peace Prize and discusses how the world can achieve peace in the future.
Letter from Birmingham Jail
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., outlines his nonviolence approach to addressing injustice while responding to criticism.
'Enemies from Within' Speech
Senator Joseph McCarthy
In Senator Joseph McCarthy’s most famous speech, he condemns the threat of communism and accuses the state department of communist infiltration.
President Clinton’s Remarks in Kigali on the Rwandan Genocide
President Bill Clinton
President Clinton reflects on the 1994 Rwandan genocide and what must be done to repair Rwanda and prevent future genocides.
Elie Wiesel’s “The Perils of Indifference” Speech
A Holocaust survivor discusses the consequences of acting indifferently towards human suffering.
Red Cloud's Speech after Wounded Knee
Chief Red Cloud
Oglala Lakota leader Red Cloud’s remarks following the Wounded Knee Massacre recall the years of false promises made and mistreatment shown to the American Indian people by the U.S. federal government.
Senator Nixon's “Checkers” Speech
Senator Richard M. Nixon
In this speech, Vice Presidential candidate Richard Nixon masters rhetoric to defend charges of corruption in his campaign and to defend Dwight Eisenhower’s bid for the presidency.
RFK’s Speech Following the Death of MLK
Senator Robert F. Kennedy
In this speech, Senator Robert F. Kennedy encourages the nation to unite and heal following Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.
President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address
President Barack Obama
President Obama gives his 2015 State of the Union address, in which he discusses economic recovery and fairness.
Letter from Mary Mallon: On Being ‘Typhoid Mary’
In the early 1900s, an Irish immigrant cook was accused of infecting dozens of her clients with typhoid fever - although she herself had no symptoms - and quarantined against her will until her death.
Olaudah Equiano Recalls the Middle Passage
Former slave and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano remembers his brutal voyage across the Atlantic to Barbados as a newly captured slave.
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
The famous ex-slave and abolitionist points out the hypocrisy of "the home of the free" on Independence Day.
“Advice to the ‘Newly Married Lady’”
Samuel K. Jennings
A doctor and preacher from the 19th century advises new wives to always defer to their husbands.
The Plea for Eight Hours
Labor union leader Terence Powderly makes a reasoned argument in favor of reducing the work day for laborers.
Testimony Before the Senate Hearings on the Equal Rights Amendment
In her speech advocating in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, feminist Gloria Steinem seeks to dispel myths about women.
Every Man a King
Huey P. Long
At the height of the Great Depression, Huey P. Long, a Louisiana senator, delivered this famous speech in which he denounced the rich and argued to "scale down the big fortunes."
Address to the Commonwealth Club of California
Chavez describes the terrible conditions for Mexican farm workers, and calls for change.