delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
featured on the site www.americanrhetoric.com
In honour of Martin Luther King Day, which this year falls on Monday 17th January 2011, I thought I would feature one of the most life-changing speeches ever made – if not, the most life-changing, not only for him but for millions of people back then and throughout the years that have passed since.
“I Have a Dream” is a 17min speech by Martin Luther King Jr, in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. King’s delivery of the speech on August 28, 1963, 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. Delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters, the speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address. (Wikipedia)
It brings a tear to my eye every time I see and hear it. The man embodies everything that we should aspire to be, in my opinion. His dignity, positivity and faith in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, are an inspiring lesson to us all as to the indomitable human spirit, the power of “Now”, and the unending possibilities open to each of us, if we just believe.
“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.”
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
“The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for 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. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.”
“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
I have a dream today! ”
Watch the speech in full here
Happy Martin Luther King day!