Perspectives

This part of the study guide is designed to give you a broader perspective on the speech “I Have a Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by looking at historical perspective, relevance today, and similar speeches.

Historical perspective

“I Have a Dream” was delivered during an important moment in US history, at a high point in the Civil Rights Movement (protests and activist campaigns for granting African Americans equal civil rights). Because of the context, the speech received a lot of visibility – it was broadcast by national and international media and discussed in various newspapers. Furthermore, it is said that President J. F. Kennedy decided to invite the leaders of the march to the White House after the event because he was impressed by King’s speech.

However, after the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, the speech began to be forgotten. By the time Martin Luther King was killed in 1968, not many people remembered his speech. It was his brutal death that reminded the audience...

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