I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”?
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jarring discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning (Carson, 2001).
When I was in elementary school, I learned from textbook there was a man and he gave a speech 46 years ago. This speech had a significant impact on the development of a country. Also, his speech made 250,000 audiences excited; his speech was so powerful that brought people who desired for freedom and equality hope again. This man is Martin Luther King.
January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He grew up in a family full of happiness, and he was intelligent and thoughtful. When Martin was young, he studied at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University and Boston University to learn theology. When he was studying in North America, he was surprised to find that he can talk with white people freely and he can freely enter restaurants and theaters, which is strictly prohibited in the South America. He later recalled: “The healthy relationships between blacks and whites, which makes us believe that we can form an alliance with many people …… I had to hold hate attitude to the entire white race, but when I in touch with more whites, my anger lifts, replaced by a spirit of cooperation “(Harding, 1995).
December 5, 1955, in Montgomery City which has always been discrimination against blacks, an amazing thing happened: on a bus, one black woman called Parkes, refused to give seat to a white woman. However, she did not mean to instigate. At that time her legs were sore and need rest, so she did not give a seat to the white passenger. However, this thing was an “outrageous” behavior and it is never tolerated. As a result, she was arrested. This news angered the black community. Martin felt angry too. He and some influential black businessmen and pastors decided to take some act. They asked blacks refused to take the bus for 24 hours, and asked the bus company give black people courtesy service and ensure passengers reach their destinations. However, the car company rejected these reasonable requirements. This further aroused the anger of the black masses, Montgomery’s fifty thousand blacks united to boycott. Black leaders formed the “Montgomery Improvement Association “, with Martin as their leader (Palmer, 2005). This bus boycott movement lasted 358 days, during these days, Martin defied threats and abuse. However, he never gave up and he led the campaign and make the black masses morale is always high-spirited. In the end, blacks achieved success.
Through Montgomery bus boycott, Martin became well known. During this boycott, he came up with a new idea which is convincing people by reasoning rather than using of violence. Charity must be our guiding ideology. His idea was supported by the majority of the black community immediately (Palmer, 2006).The news of the victory spread in the southern states immediately. This victory encouraged the expansion of the black against apartheid activities in buses, shops and other public area. A lot of organizations ask Martin join them and use non-violent way to guide their movements. But the result is, Martin was arrested three times, but it is also part of his fight strategy. In 1956, more than 60 groups in southern American united together, set up Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Martin elected as the leader of SNCC. The organization responsible for developing action plans and set up a special anti-violence school. Although it is a “non-violent”, but still some bloodshed happened. The fights against whites are very strategic. When chose “battlefield”, Martin was always choose some place that can make local authorities make a sensitive response. He knew that when people saw police attack unarmed people with water cannons, and release dog bites women and children on the TV screen, the whole society will be angry. Thus, Martin used public opinion forced the American President John F. Kennedy came up with the Civil Rights Act of Congress in spring of 1963. Later, the bill got through.
Martin Luther King Jr. was well known for his remarkable efforts on fighting for equality, initiating and leading the American Civil Rights Movement.
On August 28, 1963, there was a 250,000 people gathering being held in Washington D.C., to ask for racial equality. Martin Luther King Jr. made this speech in front of tens of thousands of African Americans, and he became well known in the world right after. He had no notes on his hands, but just simply expressed his deep self to the gathering crowd. This is the famous speech “I Have A Dream”. This speech recapped the painful history of African slaves, and revealed the tragic reality of their lives of that time. He also addressed his hope to the bright future of real freedom. Martin pointed out that everyone is born to be equal, and people with different skin color should be sharing equal rights as well. “One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition” (Carson, 2001).
Speaking from the culture aspect, they hope to be respected and understood. People stop judging them with skin colors, but with the quality of their characteristics. They wish they could have same education opportunities as the Whites have. Black people hope that they can have equal opportunity of development in economics, but not being retrained in the poor neighborhood. The speech has become the voice of justice, and aroused people with devotions to freedom, justice, and equality, to fight for the racial equality. The speech has also reminded the American government that the power of the crowd can’t be looked down upon (even though the power of those people with black skin color who they considered inferior). It promoted the American government to live up to its promises of offering the rights to the Black people. It has great contribution on fighting for equal rights of African Americans.
The speech holds the main idea of taking further steps to promote the movement of requiring to freedom, justice, and equality. The “nonviolence” he has advocated has made huge impact to the Black movements during the 60s. Until today, this spirit is still making impacts in America. It encourages people to keep fighting for their own rights. Even though the White people in America are being influenced by Martin Luther King’s ideas to actively support promoting democratic reform. In other hand, Black movement is only a part of the pursuits of human rights of the whole humanity. It also has positive influence on people with other racial from other areas.
What I learned from this speech is people must have their own dreams. Moreover, it has inspired me to pursue my dreams. No matter how much the difficulties we face, we must remember that I have a dream, until it should have been fighting to achieve. It is a belief, a persist, a recognition.
African American Review. Vol. 31. N.p.: n.p., 1997. 352-54. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3042489>.
Carson, Clayborne, Kris Shepard, and Andrew Young. A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. N.p.: Grand Central Publishing, Jan 1, 200. Print.
Harding, Vincent. Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero. N.p.: Orbis Books, 2008. 64. Print.
Palmer, Colin A., ed. Encyclopedia Of African American Culture And History: The Black Experience In The Americas (Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History). Vol. 1. N.p.: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 6 vols. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.