Past in Perspective

2018-08-28T22:37:07+05:00

Racism is a much more clandestine, much more hidden kind of phenomenon, but at the same time it’s perhaps far more terrible than it’s ever been.

–Angela Davis

On August 28, 1963, King, Jr. delivered his most famous and galvanising speech, “I Have a Dream” on the

Lincoln Memorial steps.

 

The “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. before a crowd of some 250,000 people at the 1963 March on Washington, remains one of the most famous speeches in history. Weaving in references to the country’s Founding Fathers and the Bible, King used universal themes to depict the struggles of African Americans, before closing with an improvised riff on his dreams of equality. The eloquent speech was immediately recognised as a highlight of the successful protest and has endured as one of the signature moments of the civil rights movement.

The figurehead of the civil rights movement called for an end to racism in the US in this speech, which at the time was still segregated, both legally and in practice, in most areas of life. Some of his most famous lines include “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their characters.”

This year marks 50 years since Martin Luther King was assassinated. His principled position to fight injustice and rely on non-violent methods to uproot the evil has inspired millions of people across the world. However, the age of anger we are living in, demagogues are trying to reverse the gains that have been made in the field of social justice. To not repeat the injustices of the previous centuries, Martin Luther King’s messages are worth remembering.

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