Dreams and Recurring Nightmares – 50 years after Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ Speech

Professor Gus John

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

These famous words, the second sentence of the American Declaration of Independence on 4th July 1776, were the cornerstone of Dr Martin Luther King’s speech on 28 August 1963. That speech is rarely remembered in its entirety and consequently over time the last part which is most frequently quoted has come to represent a rallying cry for black and white integration rather than a ‘call to arms’ in the struggle for equal rights and justice.

Why is that important and what is its relevance for Britain? Read more of this post


Fifty years of dreaming…

Nora Connolly

Image © Gregory F. Maxwell

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s iconic speech, made in the shadow of the Lincoln memorial, a hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Dr King eloquently demanded freedom, a clarion call transmitted around the world; he reminded his audience that successive governments had defaulted on a promissory note. King made clear his commitment to the democratic process whilst rejecting the tranquilising drug of gradualism assuring his audience that the bank of justice was not bankrupt. Dr King made several I have dream speech`s in 1963, his Detroit version recorded by Motown. But the statement on August 28 is unique, the most memorable lines “were completely extemporaneous” the language precise the sentiment soaring. As Manning Marable points out the speech was more than a “rhetorical achievement: it was a challenge to white America to break with its racist past, and to embrace a multiracial future”.  Read more of this post