The most celebrated speech in contemporary history turns 55. Here are ten quotes besides "I have a dream". Still, we must question ourselves if we should celebrate Martin Luther King's Speech as a relic from a distant reality or if, sadly, it is as pertinent as it was back then.
“I Have A Dream,” entitled like that because of the repetition of this phrase and the invitation to change the reality of violence and social injustice toward African Americans in the United States, is perhaps the most celebrated speech in English language. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed an estimated 250,000 people that afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, and thousands more on TV on August 28th, 1963. The perfection of its structure, syntax, and tempo are elements that make this literary work immortal, undoubtedly effective, beautiful, and inspiring.
Dr. King’s speech encourages people, black and white, to end racial segregation through an elaborate yet practical structure. Divided in two, first, he references history to make a critique on racial inequity. For example, how the guarantees Americans achieved after 1776 did not apply to America’s black minority, or the emphasis he makes on the lack of progress and continuation of discrimination against African Americans after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Lincoln in 1863. Then, the second part of the speech is defined by “the dream.” Dr. King’s speech gives people hope, so that they keep pursuing happiness, progress, justice, and peace in American society.
Highly moving and inspirational, “I Have A Dream” is a masterpiece of oratory that every single person in the world should read or hear at least once in their lives. That is why we brought you 10 quotes from the speech that has inspired generations ever since, so it reminds us that injustice and discrimination will end one day.
“One hundred years later the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition”.
“... a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
"Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood."
"In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."
“... many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone”.
“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. […] We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their adulthood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. […] No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."
"I say to you today, my friends, though, 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, 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 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 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."
"When we allow freedom to ring-when we let it ring from every city 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, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last."
It’s very upsetting to see how pertinent, relevant, and accurate this speech still is in America, a country where racial profiling still exists, a country that fails its African American sons and daughters, and a country that seems to be going backwards because it physically, economically, politically, and culturally oppresses racial minorities. It is a speech that we all should know, not only for its historical meaning, but also for its pertinence to the struggle of many in America. We should not take it for granted, not at this historical moment. We should ask ourselves how far have we come since that march in 1963, we should remember that we walk together for a brighter future, and we must wonder if we should keep on dreaming or we’re going to start acting.
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