Inspiring Speech: Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have A Dream

We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. So much so that there is a day of the year to celebrate him as a national holiday in the United States. Most of us have listening to segments of his famous speech where he told the world about a dream he had. The main message of his famous speech is that racial inequalities needed to end and he was absolutely right. However, he also reminds us that there are things that are more important than success such as equal rights and treating each other with respect and kindness. If you somehow made it through school without watching the famous speech, here it is.

Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have A Dream Speech

Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family’s long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father has served from then until the present, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro* institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. Two sons and two daughters were born into the family

In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation. He was ready, then, early in December, 1955, to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States, the bus boycott described by Gunnar Jahn in his presentation speech in honor of the laureate. The boycott lasted 382 days. On December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. During these days of boycott, King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.

In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience. and inspiring his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, “l Have a Dream”, he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.

At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated.

Transcripts of the Speech:

0:02
so even though we face the difficulties
0:06
of today and tomorrow I still have a
0:11
dream it is a dream deeply rooted in the
0:15
American dream I have a dream that one
0:21
day this nation will rise up and live
0:27
out the true meaning of its Creed we
0:30
hold these truths to be self-evident
0:33
that all men are created
0:36
I have a dream that one day on the Red
0:49
Hills of Georgia sons of former slaves
0:54
and the sons of former slave owners will
0:57
be be able to sit down together at the
1:00
table of brotherhood I have a dream that
1:03
one day even the state of Mississippi a
1:09
state sweltering with the heat of
1:12
injustice sweltering with the heat of
1:17
oppression will be transformed into an
1:21
oasis of freedom and justice I have a
1:23
dream
1:27
my four little children will one day
1:31
live in a nation where they will not be
1:33
judged by the color of our skin but by
1:36
the content of their character I have a
1:38
dream today
1:42
I have a dream that one day down in
1:54
Alabama with its vicious racists with
1:59
its governor having his lips dripping
2:02
with the words of interposition and
2:04
nullification one day right there in
2:06
Alabama little black boys and black
2:09
girls will be able to join hands with
2:12
little white boys and white girls as
2:14
sisters and brothers I have a dream to
2:16
be
2:21
I have a dream that one day every Valley
2:26
shall be exalted every Hill and mountain
2:30
shall be made low the rough places will
2:32
be made plain and the crooked places
2:34
will be made straight and the glory of
2:37
the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh
2:39
shall see it together this is our hope
2:42
and this is a Pete that I go back to the
2:46
south with with this faith we will be
2:50
able to hew out of the mountain of
2:52
despair a stone of hope with this faith
2:55
we will be able to transform the
2:58
jangling discords of our nation into a
3:01
beautiful symphony of brotherhood with
3:04
this thing we will be able to work
3:07
together to pray together to struggle
3:09
together to go to jail together to stand
3:12
up for freedom together knowing that we
3:15
will be free one day
3:17
this will be the day this will be the
3:22
day with all of God’s children
3:24
we’ll be able to sing with new meaning
3:27
my country tis of thee sweet land of
3:32
liberty of thee I sing land where my
3:35
fathers died land of the pilgrims pride
3:37
from every mountainside let freedom ring
3:42
and if America is to be a great nation
3:44
this must become true and so let freedom
3:48
ring from the prodigious hilltops of New
3:51
Hampshire let freedom ring from the
3:55
mighty mountains of New York let freedom
3:58
ring from the heightening Alleghenies of
4:00
Pennsylvania let freedom ring from the
4:03
snow-capped Rockies of Colorado let
4:07
freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes
4:09
of California but not only that let
4:13
freedom ring from Stone Mountain of
4:16
Georgia
4:17
let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain
4:20
of Tennessee let freedom ring from every
4:24
Hill and molehill of Mississippi from
4:28
every mountainside let freedom ring and
4:31
when this happens when we allow freedom
4:37
ring when we let it ring from every
4:41
village and every Hamlet from every
4:43
state and every city we will be able to
4:47
speed up that day when all of God’s
4:50
children black men and white men Jews
4:53
and Gentiles Protestants and Catholics
4:56
will be able to join hands and sing in
4:59
the words of the old Negro spiritual
5:01
free at last free at last thank God
5:05
Almighty real Fred
5:11
you

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