What did Martin Luther King Jr. ask for in his famous speech?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous speech, “I Have a Dream” at the Washington Rights March on August 28th, 1963. He asked for the freedom of the black people and stated that despite such freedom being promised by the Emancipation Proclamation, black people continued to live under oppression. America had dishonoured the Constitution and Declaration of Independence by denying the black man equal rights and justice as envisaged in the declarations. He, therefore, asked for an end to all racial injustice in the form of segregation, police brutality, and suppression of suffrage rights.

MLK asked the black people to maintain discipline and dignity by abstaining from physical violence, even as they continued to agitate for justice. He further urged that they abstain from mistrusting all white people because a significant number of white people were actually in support of their cause.

mannmom4 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Martin Luther King was asking to have a promise fulfilled. He was asking for “the riches of freedom and the security of justice.” Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., Martin Luther King implored American citizens to honor the words written by our founding fathers. Reverend King believed that our society should abide by the guarantees written into the Constitution—that all men should be granted equal opportunity. Black people were often treated unfairly, and they faced a daily struggle to be judged by their character rather than their skin color. He believed that this was an urgent matter and that these racial injustices had to be addressed immediately. Ultimately, it was his dream that racial injustice no longer be a part of our society.