Martin Luther King's Speech
He Had a Dream - That ended Racial Segregation
An Extraordinary Testament to the Power of Words
Martin Luther King Jnr
On August 28th 1963, the American Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King stood in front of a vast crowd in Washington and said that he had a dream that one day his children would live in a nation where they'd be judged, not by the colour of their skin, but by the content if their character.
His speech would lead, eventually, to the end of racial segregation in the United States and have an impact far beyond America.
On August 28th 1963, 200,000 people gathered in Washington for the largest political demonstration of the United States. Among the speakers that day was a 34 year old Southern Baptist preacher, Martin Luther King junior. This day was the culmination in a huge upsurge in civil rights protests that had been set off by terrible scenes of police brutality at a similar gathering in Alabama that May.
18 year old John Sergeant, later a BBC reporter, was in Washington that day. He said: "I was relieved at the atmosphere. There were 200,000 people, mostly black, and I was pleased that it was more like a picnic than a protest rally."
See the transcript of this history-making speech and feel the emotion that King put out on that day in 1963.
On July 2nd 1964, President Linden Johnson signed the Civil Right Act, finally giving black Americans the same legal rights as their white counterparts.
But having legal equality didn't necessarily mark the end of their struggle for true equal rights. Following Dr King's assassination shortly after this event, the Reverend Jesse Jackson would continue the fight, and is still doing so today.