On August 28, 1963, before a crowd of thousands who had come to Washington, D.C. to march on behalf of civil rights for black Americans, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered one of the best-known speeches of his life. Remembered as the “I Have a Dream Speech” the purpose of the sixteen minute address was to appeal to the nation’s conscience and to inspire and encourage those involved in the struggle for civil rights to keep on working courageously despite all opposition.
King’s courageous work for peace and justice is remembered annually each February when we honor his memory, but the speech is worth listening to in its entirety at any time of the year. King honed his oratory skills as a Baptist preacher, and his compelling voice, increasing in passionate intensity as the speech progresses, rings out with hope. The speech, appropriately delivered near the Lincoln Memorial, contains memorable lines, including: “I have a dream that my four 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.” This line comes within a litany of phrases, each beginning with “I have a dream.”