The King’s Speech

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

One of the most famous speeches in the entire world, the “I have a dream” speech, took place on August 28th, 1963, during the March on Washington. The march was a civil rights demonstration, and as Martin Luther King Jr was one of the leaders of that movement, he gave a speech. King talks about his dream, his vision per se, and what that vision entails. King talked about how in his dream that he hopes that one-day former slaves and slave-owners could speak. That one day, his four children will not be judged upon their skin color. That one day in Alabama, little black children will be able to hold hands with white children as brothers and sisters.

Reception in the 1960s

When the King delivered the speech in 1963, the reception was met with mixed reviews at best. For those for civil rights, it was an awe-inspiring speech that left its mark. It was the biggest highlight of the March on Washington. James Reston of the New York Times wrote that the march was merely a “great spectacle” until King delivered his empowered words. King’s words were believable through his passion and delivery; it made people feel like there could be a change for the better. Not every person was on board as expected for the period. For example, South Carolina senator Storm Thurmond said this to NBC, “They are better fed, they are better clothed, they have better houses here than in any other country in the world.” Thurmond was not the only one as well. There was a Gallup poll in 1966 where it was asked about the King’s speech. The poll’s results were that the speech only had a 33% approval rating. It wasn’t until the man was dead that it started to be membered as highly as it is.

Reception in 2020

MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most famous speeches in the entire world. That speech is so synonymous with the Civil Rights movement. It is taught to every American student today. On Martin Luther King’s celebrated day, his legendary speech is shown in classes as examples of what a great speech should be and how excellent King’s rhetoric was. It is remembered for what it is, a century defining speech.

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