MLK “I have a dream” Speech

On this day, 45 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered one of the most powerful and most recognized speeches in American history. 

We thought we would simply recognize that back then the true promise of the American dream lay out of the reach of Black America, as it still does for many Americans. 

100 years after Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, King called attention to the fact that “the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.”   Dr. King’s speech was an urgent call to action: “NOW is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”  And his speech warned the rest of America not to ignore Black America because “there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.”

Recalling that many of the 250,000 in the audience at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. were still bruised by the fresh wounds of discrimination, Dr. King urged them to continue the fight and “not wallow in the valley of despair.”

Instead, he spoke of his vision: “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.”

Equality begets freedom.  “And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.”  For many of the Nation’s First Americans, this is especially true.

Dr. King said on that day that when freedom rings across America, then “we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children … will be able to join hands and sing … Free at Last!  Free at last!  Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

The complete text of Dr. King’s speech here (in PDF)


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