Video: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream"


  1. That speech just sings. It is incredibly powerful. There are no others that ring in my head in such a way that I can just hear it. Or read the text of it and feel the whole experience of sight, sound, voice and resonance.

  2. @zuzu I’d like to know what is up lately with this anti-Lincoln rhetoric? Was Lincoln perfect? No. Was he instrumental in ending slavery in the United States? Yes, UNDOUBTEDLY yes.

    It is true that when Lincoln originally put out the “Emancipation Proclamation” it was rather meaningless – North & South were still at war. However, with the ending of the Civil War, it provided the focal point of ultimately ending slavery in the United States. Why this goes beyond the heads of some people is entirely beyond me.

    Lincoln provided unity, began the steps of equality between the races, as well as firmly planted the United States as a legitimate country in the world stage. Was he perfect? No. Did he make mistakes? Undoubtedly. However, Lincoln ultimately did more to save the United States more than any other president.

  3. One of my favourite MLK quotes:

    “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    Thank you Reverend King. May you rest in peace knowing that some of your dreams are finally coming true.

  4. @5 w00master

    Not wanting to derail the thread too much about this, I’ll just say that it’s a problem of whitewashing historical revisionism (ala “history is written by the victors”) — one which promotes a (faulty) belief in top-down authority as an effective means of social change.

    Lincoln is not the hero that popular history has enshrined him as. No more than Lenin and Stalin were despite all of their monuments in the former Soviet Union.

    Simultaneously, the actions of the “common” individuals who undermined an immoral yet popular (and legally codified) social institution are marginalized if not forgotten entirely.

    He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.

    — George Orwell, journalist

  5. @zuzu, The way King says it, Lincoln came to decide he had no choice but to sign the emancipation proclamation. Which is maybe a little light on detail, but is in line with the point you’re making. I don’t think King necessarily gives Lincoln credit for ending slavery.

    On another note, after actually watching/listening to MLK’s speeches, how totally off base do all of these comparisons with Obama seem? This guy was profound and radical on a level we seem to have forgotten, and his vision was so much bigger than getting someone like Obama into the White House.

  6. i’ll also counter to zuzu’s mention of lincoln:

    what about the canonization of reagan? lincoln has far more credibility for being instrumental in ending slavery than reagan has for tearing down the berlin wall. reagan just capitalized on the moment we all knew was coming. now, suddenly, he is being writ into history books like he went in with a hammer and took the thing down himself.

  7. reagan just capitalized on the moment we all knew was coming. now, suddenly, he is being writ into history books like he went in with a hammer and took the thing down himself.

    Indeed. Even the argument that the arms race bankrupted the USSR first is quite dubious. I think it’s most accurate to say that the USSR was doomed to fail due to the economic calculation problem.

    However, with the coming flood of hyperinflation, I’m looking forward to Reagan getting one more thing named after him:

    the quadrillion dollar note — the Gipper — is the standard “small” bill.

  8. @zuzu I highly disagree. Imho, it’s your arguments (which many have disputed) that are more revisionist. Many of which are southern/confederate revisionist history popularized by DiLorenzo.

    I recognize the deification of Lincoln is way overboard, but much of the revisionist talk which supposedly discredits Lincoln have been disputed by most historians.

    If you claim that “top-down authority as an effective means of social change” is faulty, then why even elect a President? Why even bother with a democracy then?

  9. @TAKUAN I never claimed that Lincoln was perfect. He is a human being, and he’s living his era – for both good and bad. However (as many of these revisionists believe), these claims that Lincoln a) did nothing b) was (as many revisionists believe) one of the worst presidents c) actually caused the civil war, are nothing more than that: revisionist nonsense.

    @ZUZU It’s rather clear that you and I will not see eye to eye. I will agree with you that the deification of Lincoln is over the top, but that’s really all I can agree with you on.

  10. National histories make heroes and symbols out of people and events that are often less than deserving of such lofty status. Lincoln, JFK, MLK were all too human perhaps, but they were murdered in their prime and thus awarded saintly status by those who will use them for whatever current or future political purposes.

    You must admit that yesterday’s Obama kitsch-fest at the Lincoln Memorial, cringe-worthy in so many ways, was just such an effective use of a national symbol to further a political agenda.

    Only the sight and sound of Pete Seeger leading tens of thousands in a sing-along of Woody Guthrie’s ”This Land Is Your Land” on the eve of a black man’s inauguration as President of The United States tempered my cynicism.

    And brought tears to my eyes.

  11. Lincoln provided unity … as well as firmly planted the United States as a legitimate country in the world stage.

    Just as, a few years later, Otto von Bismarck unified Germany and firmly planted it as a legitimate country (the German Empire) in the world stage?

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