Thursday, September 22, 2011

Heritage of Words - I Have a Dream


13. I Have a Dream

I Have a Dream is one of the best, powerful, and unforgettable speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr., who is one of the most influential personalities of the 20th Century and the leader of the Black Civil Right’s Movement. This speech was delivered in the centenary (100 years) celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation on August 28, 1963 at Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. in front of 200 thousand people, both Black and Whites. Apparently, the crowd was gathered to celebrate/mark the hundred years of emancipation of the Blacks. However, in reality they had gathered to unite and revive the rights of the Blacks stated by the American Constitution. 

The speech creates the significant light of hope among millions of Blacks. He says that there is racial discrimination, separation and injustice among the black and white American people. The blacks are marginalized and dominated by the whites. They are put in the chain of discrimination segregation. They are considered as second class people. However, the American Constitution has stated rights to the Black: they are exiled in their own land.

King Jr. brings the reference of the past and points out that the Emancipation Proclamation had brought a great hope for millions of Blacks. It heralded (new beginning) the end of 250 years and more of Black slavery. But 100 years later, America had failed to keep the promise and the promissory note turned out to be a bad cheque. It was evident from the conditions of the Blacks that had remained unchanged. No, just the Emancipation Proclamation, the American constitution and the Independence Declaration had both failed to pay the promises of equality, happiness and liberty. Blacks were deprived of all Civil Rights and opportunities. They have been facing racial discrimination and injustice everywhere in America. They were still dominated in the different opportunities by the Whites.

King Jr. uses the analogy of the bad cheque to describe these two historic documents. King Martin refuses to believe that the vault of justice in America is bankrupt. He asserts that the blacks have gathered to cash the cheque (i.e. the emancipation proclamation) that America had granted them. He further reminds that Blacks would no longer wait for gradualism (a policy of gradual change in society).

King Jr. emphasizes on the urgency to achieve to achieve their Civil Rights ‘now’. In order to achieve the Black Civil Rights, King appeals to his fellowmen to unite for the struggle to revive the Blacks’ rights. He requested all the people to fight for the rights in a disciplined way rather than destructive way. He further appeals to the entire crowd to go back to their states and continue the struggle raising awareness amongst all and ringing the bell of freedom from every corner of America. At the end, he shares his dreams, his concrete goals with all fellowmen.

1.      Implementation of constitution
2.      Removal of racial discrimination, developing feelings of brotherhood
3.      Man to be judged by his character and not by colour, and abolition of segregation
4.      Laws and liberty for all the Blacks

He uses a musical analogy to express his aspiration, “We will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation in to a beautiful symphony of brotherhood”. His repetition of lines “I have a dream……go back to……Let freedom ring…..now…..etc express the intensity of his feelings and faith on the civil rights movement of Blacks.  

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