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On This Day… A Very Famous Speech

Written by: George Chittenden : 28 May 2019

It was on this day, 28th August, back in 1963 when American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of the most famous speeches in history. The “I Have a Dream” speech was performed in front of a crowd of around 250,000 people during a march on Washington for jobs and freedom. Martin Luther King stood near the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he addressed the crowd, in a defining moment of the civil rights movement.

The famous speech began with a reference to the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed millions of slaves in 1863, before King pointed out that one hundred years later African-Americans were still not free. Throughout the speech he touched on the country’s founding fathers and the bible, and ultimately calls for an end to racism in the United States and for civil and economic rights. The actual "I have a dream" moment was improvised and was a result of a member of the crowd, Mahalia Jackson who shouted, "Tell them about the dream, Martin”.

That speech delivered on this very day placed Martin Luther King Jr. amongst Jefferson and Lincoln in the ranks of men who've shaped modern America. It was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century in a 1999 poll.

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