I Have a Dream
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This article is about the Martin Luther King Jr. speech. For other uses, see I Have a Dream (disambiguation).
Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering "I Have a Dream" at the 1963 Washington D.C. Civil Rights March. | "I Have a Dream"Menu0:0030-second sample from "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.| Problems listening to this file? See media help.|
"I Have a Dream" is a public speech by American activist Martin Luther King, Jr. It was delivered by King on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 28, 1963, in which he called for an end to racism in the United States. The speech, delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. Beginning with a reference to the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed millions of slaves in 1863, King examines that "one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free." At the end of the speech, King departed from his prepared text for a partly improvised peroration on the theme of "I have a dream", possibly 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 the most famous, King described dreams of freedom and equality arising from a land of slavery and hatred. The speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address. Contents * 1 Background * 1.1 Speech title and the writing process * 2 The speech * 2.1 Similarities and allusions * 3 Responses * 4 Legacy * 5 Copyright dispute * 6 References * 7 External links| Background
View from the Lincoln Memorial toward the Washington Monument on August 28, 1963
The location on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial from which King delivered the speech is commemorated with this inscription. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was partly intended to demonstrate mass support for the civil rights legislation proposed by President Kennedy in June. King and other leaders therefore agreed to keep their speeches calm, and to avoid provoking the civil disobedience which had become the hallmark of the civil rights movement. King originally designed his speech as a homage to Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, timed to correspond with the 100-year centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation Speech title and the writing process
King had been preaching about dreams since 1960, when he gave a speech to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called "The Negro and the American Dream". This speech discusses the gap between the American dream and the American lived reality, saying that overt white supremacists have violated the dream, but also that "our federal government has also scarred the dream through its apathy and hypocricy, its betrayal of the cause of justice". King suggests that "It may well be that the Negro is God’s instrument to save the soul of America." He had also delivered a "dream" speech in Detroit, in June 1963, when he marched on Woodward Avenue with Walter Reuther and the Reverend C. L. Franklin, and had rehearsed other parts. The March on Washington Speech, known as "I Have a Dream Speech", has been shown to have had several versions, written at several different times. It has no single version draft, but is an amalgamation of several drafts, and was originally called "Normalcy, Never Again." Little of this, and another "Normalcy Speech," ends up in the final draft. A draft of "Normalcy, Never Again" is housed in the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection of Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center and Morehouse College. Our focus on "I have a dream," comes through the speech's delivery. Toward...