Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. made history with his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
On August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr, delivered a historic speech “I have a dream”. King was an American activist and he was appealing for an end to racism in the U. S.
This powerful and moving speech was made from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. More than 2,50,000 civil rights supporters heard and were inspired .
“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.”
This March was supposed to be a demonstration of mass support for the civil rights legislation that was proposed by President Kennedy in June. So leaders, including King had agreed to keep their speeches calm so as not to provoke any violence or untoward incident.
This speech by Martin Luther King Jr. is considered a masterpiece of rhetoric where he invokes the Declaration of Independence, Emancipation Proclamation and the United States Constitution. He also alludes to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. He refers to the promises made by the country as a “promissory note” on which America had defaulted. He goes on to say “America has given the Negro people a bad check”.
Later that year, King was named Man of the Year by Time magazine. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At 35, he was the youngest person to have won the award.