POWER IN THE WORD!
I Have a Dream
Martin Luther King Jnr, “I Have a Dream” speech, August 28, 1963
“I Have a Dream” is a public speech that was delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the speech was a defining moment of the civil rights movement and among the most iconic speeches in American history.
Beginning with a reference to the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared millions of slaves free in 1863,King said “one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free”. Toward the end of the speech, King departed from his prepared text for a partly improvised peroration on the theme “I have a dream”, prompted by Mahalia Jackson’s cry: “Tell them about the dream, Martin!”.In this part of the speech, which most excited the listeners and has now become its most famous, King described his dreams of freedom and equality arising from a land of slavery and hatred. Jon Meacham writes that, “With a single phrase, Martin Luther King Jr. joined Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln in the ranks of men who’ve shaped modern America”. The speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century in a 1999 poll of scholars of public address.
King waved goodbye to the audience, George Raveling, volunteering as a security guard at the event, asked King if he could have the original typewritten manuscript of the speech. Raveling, a star Villanova Wildcats college basketball player, was on the podium with King at that moment. King gave it to him. In 2013, Raveling still had custody of the original copy, for which he had been offered $3,000,000, but he has said he does not intend to sell it.
SELECTED SPEECH –
I HAVE A DREAM
…I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…