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Famous MLK I Have a Dream Speech

Updated on September 29, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr.

History of the I Have a Dream Speech - One of the Best Speeches Ever

Any American child who is over the age of twelve has probably heard the "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. This historic speech was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1963. It is considered to be one of the best speeches of all time.

King delivered his famous speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march was a political rally for civil rights. There are estimates of 250,000 people participating in the civil rights march.

King's moving speech is considered to have helped the advancement of civil rights move forward. Shortly after the march in 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed. A year later, the National Voting Rights Act was adopted.

The march was not supported by all members of the black community. Malcolm X, another black political figure of the time, called the march a "farce on Washington". Even the march leaders themselves had differing opinons about the political assembly. Some saw it as a chance to show support for a civil rights bill initiated by John F. Kennedy. Others wanted the march to represent an exact opposite view. They wanted to protest that the Kennedy administration wasn't doing enough for the black community and civil rights.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an excellent speaker. He had charisma and spoke with meaning. His "I Have a Dream" speech sounds almost like poetry. Throughout the historical speech, King refers to many references, including the Bible, Gettysburg Address, and Declaration of Independence.

Watch the full-length MLK I Have a Dream Speech

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Famous MLK I Have a Dream Speech Quotes

Here are some of the most memorable moments from Martin Luther King's political speech:

"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."

"I have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

"Let freedom ring. 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!"

MLK I Have a Dream Speech Comments

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    • Angela Harris profile image

      Angela Harris 9 years ago from Around the USA

      Thanks so much! This speech still sends shivers down my spine, even though I have heard it many times.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Wonderful hub, Angela.  I am one of those over 12 who has heard this speech more times in my life than I can say.  For me, seeing the famous words printed here not only was a reminder of the greatness of this man, but also was a remembrance of his grand and eloquent voice, which I could hear in my head while I read the words. Thanks for bringing back the memories.