Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the foreground with other people standing attentively in the background

"I Have a Dream" Speech

by Martin Luther King Jr.

Start Free Trial

What are the main points of the "I Have a Dream" speech?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One could say that the main points of the "I Have a Dream" speech are where Martin Luther King Jr. insists that there will never be rest nor tranquility if Black citizens aren't given equal rights. A second main point is the famous passage where he expresses the hope that one day, his children will be judged by their character, not by the color of their skin.

The first main point of the text to examine concerns King's prediction of what will happen if African Americans continue to be denied their basic rights. He states quite frankly that there will be neither rest nor tranquility if this situation is allowed to continue.

What makes this part of King's speech so significant is that it turned out to be all too prescient. Within two years of the "I Have a Dream" speech, urban riots would break out in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts and elsewhere in response to what protestors saw as deep social and economic discrimination against African Americans.

The second main point that King expresses is important because it shows that, despite everything, he is still hopeful that one day his four children will be judged by their character and not by the color of their skin. He goes on to emphasize his commitment to a multiracial society by expressing his hope that white children and Black children in the notoriously racist state of Alabama will join hands as sisters and brothers.

This striking imagery encapsulates the vision of Dr. King and the civil rights movement that he led.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team