Kala Neilson 5 April 2007 Professor Edmonson “I Have A Dream” “Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning.” Before thousands of people on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The speech’s aim was to acquire additional support for the pending Civil Rights Bill proposed by then President J.F. Kennedy’s administration (The bill was eventually passed by Congress during Lyndon Johnson’s Presidency in 1964). King covered several themes in his speech, including togetherness, dignity and discipline, and equality. With his wife by his side and a captive audience hanging on his every word, Martin Luther King Jr. changed the lives of millions of Americans during his generation, and even still changes the lives of Americans of today’s generation. I have always admired in a person when he or she has a strong sense of determination and/or togetherness. This is a significant theme found throughout King’s speech. “We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality” (Melvin 219). King strongly emphasized to his followers how imperative it was for them not only to stick to the task at hand, but more importantly, to stick together. By having faith in the cause, believing in the cause, and never giving up on the cause, King knew that a change would one day Neilson 2
happen. “Go back to Mississippi; go back to Alabama…go back to the slums and ghettos of the northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can, and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair” (Melvin 219). If you hold true to what you believe in and don’t stray from the task at hand, then everything always seems to work itself out in the end.
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