The ‘Dream’, the Act, the Movement

5332424980_cfecb39780On August 28, 1963, Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  gave his historic I Have A Dream speech – at the Civil Rights Movement’s March on Washington.

  • An excerpt of King’s speech, highlighting 2 Old Testament references (Isaiah, Amos) to the Holy Bible, can be found below.

    • Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who King respected greatly, exhorted him to “Tell them about the dream, Martin!   Tell them about the dream!”
    • In response, the powerful ‘Dream’ portion of the speech was spoken straight from King’s heart – not from the prepared text.   The Baptist preacher ‘took those there to church’ . . . as only a Baptist preacher can (smile).

In the following year, LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  • The White House photo above shows President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. King shaking hands at the July 2nd signing of the milestone legislation.

* * * *

Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” . . .

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells.    And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.    You have been the veterans of creative suffering.    Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. . . .

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.   It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. . . . .

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.”2


1 Amos 5:24 (ASV)

2Isaiah 40:4-5 (KJV)

*  *  *

Photo Credit:  U.S. Embassy New DelhiC

[Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, NYWT&S Collection]


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