28 August marks the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr giving his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The March on Washington put pressure on the Kennedy administration to advance its civil rights legislation in Congress.
The speech was one of the most famous moments of the Civil Rights Movement and among the most famous speeches in American history. Martin Luther King and other leaders agreed to keep their speeches calm to avoid provoking the civil disobedience, which had become the hallmark of the Civil Rights Movement.
King described his dreams of freedom and equality arising from a land of slavery and hatred. Among the most quoted lines of the speech are “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!”
The speech identified the faults of America and what measures were needed to make it a better place. A central theme throughout the speech was the importance of everyone being treated equally.
In the wake of the speech and march, King was named TIME magazine’s Man of the Year 1963 and in 1964 he was the youngest man ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.