In recognition of February as Black History Month, we are devoting this week to looking at the famous speech from Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have a Dream”.
I had heard clips from the speech, but had never read or heard it in its entirety. In this week’s webcast we’ll watch his speech and then talk about some of the highlights and key points afterwards.
“I Have a Dream” was delivered to over 200,000 people on Aug 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. While the speech was delivered to address the inequality of African Americans, it has many nuggets of wisdom that are still applicable today.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man, minister and leader of the civil rights movement. He lead a revolution for justice for the oppressed, but as with any fight against evil, it comes with a cost.
Did you know;
- He was born on January 15, 1929
- He was jailed 29 times
- He escaped from his first assassination attempt
- He gave over 2500 public speeches in his lifetime
- He was relentlessly harassed by the FBI
- He was assassinated April 4, 1968
- In his final speech the night before he was assassinated, he talked about his own death, saying “And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
What did you get from his speech? While I was watching it here are some of the noteworthy points that I saw:
- He starts of stating historical facts. There was no slander or distortion, just fact.
- He does not ask for special rights, but only that blacks be given the rights guaranteed them under the constitution.
- He inspired with a message of hope and optimism at what was to come.
- He was opposed to violence. “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.”
- His message was not black people vs. 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.”
- He acknowledged that all men are created equal by God. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
- Although stating the facts around past injustices, there is no mention of retribution.
- He closes with acknowledging that freedom is for all mankind. “And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village 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! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
His speech is powerful, inspirational and still relevant today. Share your thoughts in the comments or using the feedback form.
While it is easy to watch as an interesting piece of history, my encouragement to you is to ask “What can I learn from this?” and “What can I do to help the oppressed?” Let’s learn from history!
Have a great week and God bless,