Martin Luther King, Jr., Delivers his “I have a Dream” Speech (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: The “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered during the 1963 March on Washington, D.C., encapsulated the social vision of the nonviolent movement and elevated it in American and world consciousness.
Summary of Event
The setting for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s best-remembered speech was a massive March on Washington, D.C., in late August, 1963. On August 28, he delivered the partly extemporaneous address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to more than 200,000 march participants and, through radio and television, to millions of others around the world. To many, it was his clearest expression of his vision for America’s future. His rhythmic repetition of “I have a dream” between each major point of the speech accounts for the title and reflects the measured optimism he sought to project. At the time of the March on Washington, both King and the nonviolent Civil Rights movement were under intense pressure from several directions. The settlement effected on May 10, 1963, after the massive Birmingham campaign was considered inadequate by some critics. Birmingham officials and business leaders had made substantial concessions, including hiring and promoting more black personnel and desegregating public facilities, but there was little assurance that living conditions for African Americans would improve substantially. Violence also continued in Birmingham, beginning with the bombing of the home of...
(The entire section is 2527 words.)
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