Martin Luther King: Story of “I Have a Dream”!

Martin Luther King: Story of “I Have a Dream”!

Martin Luther King: Story of “I Have a Dream”!

During the rally in the nation’s capital on August 28, 1963, Dr. King delivered his most famous speech, known as the “I Have a Dream” speech, from the steps of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. Portions of that speech are often quoted, including, “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 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.”

The speech called not only for Negro rights, but for the rights of all people and, moreover, for friendship and unity among all Americans, with phrases such as, “I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Beyond the repeated phrase, “I have a dream,” perhaps the best-known and most-often quoted portion of the speech comes from its concluding paragraph, which states:

“And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

It has been alleged that King plagiarized his famous speech from one given by Archibald Carey, a black pastor, in a 1952 speech to the Republican National Convention, just as it was found he had plagiarized others’ works in his collegiate papers. While there are similarities in the endings of the two speeches, those similarities are insufficient to be considered outright plagiarism and are based largely on the fact that both men quoted the opening verse of “America the Beautiful” as a lead-in to their closing remarks.

But 40 years after the March on Washington, there is no gainsaying that Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ has entered American public culture as ‘the oratorical equivalent of the Declaration of Independence,’ as Hansen puts it. If its fame threatens to swamp the balance of King’s legacy, and if its stature directs historical memory only toward the brightest and not the bleakest days of the 1960s black freedom movement, it nonetheless remains the most notable oratorical achievement of the 20th century — a’sort of a Gettysburg Address’ indeed.

Martin Luther King Story of “I Have a Dream!

Martin Luther King Story of “I Have a Dream

Martin Luther King Story of “I Have a Dream!

Martin Luther King Story of “I Have a Dream!

Martin Luther King Story of “I Have a Dream!

Martin Luther King Story of “I Have a Dream!

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