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King's Dream
In this Aug. 28, 1963, photo Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses marchers during his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. (AP)

In this Aug. 28, 1963, photo Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses marchers during his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. (AP)

Great moments in history colliding in Washington this week, echoing off each other, across the years.

On the mall yesterday, a huge crowd before the Lincoln Memorial, opening the celebration of Barack Obama’s inauguration, on the same site where Martin Luther King gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech in August, 1963.

A new telling of the origins of that speech calls it “national scripture”. But it was not the speech King had prepared. This hour, On Point: the untold story of the “I Have a Dream” speech, and its monumental echo in the nation’s capitol this week.

You can join the conversation. On this Martin Luther King Day, is this the dream, part of it, coming true?

Guests:

Mike Allen, chief political correspondent for Politico.com.

Eric Sundquist, professor of literature, University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of “To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature.” His new book is “King’s Dream.”

You can read the introduction to “King’s Dream.”

Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, pastor of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA. He is a fourth generation Baptist preacher.

More links:

The full text of the speech is available here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbUtL_0vAJk

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  • Joe B.

    Isn’t this one the speeches that King plagiarized?

  • Scott in Iowa City

    …aaaaaaaaaaaaaand out they crawl.

  • Ruth Magill

    wonderful commentary, but please remember MLK was a reverend M.L. King Jr. he was steeped in theology, bible study, and a devoted christian pastor. In my humble opinion he was moved by the Holy Spirit to tell us about his dream, as many old testament prophets before him. God was a part of this movement from the very beginning. Please, don’t be hesitant to recognize this.

  • R.M.

    It a beautiful speech that gives me goose bumps every time I listen to it …..

  • Raymond Saloomey

    I believe we will NOT really overcome pervasive racism in the USA until we no longer talk about our new BLACK president, but rather just our new president!

  • Dave, Boston

    Another radical change:

    In discussing the lineage of President Lincoln, Dr. King, and President-elect Obama, I note, with great satisfaction, that we will, again, have a president the subtleties of whose language we will parse rather than bemoan.

    Dave, Boston

  • Dallas

    I was struck by the crowd at the We Are One Concert. Every race and ethnic group were present, totally comfortable with each other and united in a common vision. That to me is Dr. Kings dream.

  • Melissa

    I have to say when I listen to my 10 year son speak of his friends or any one that is of a different skin tone then he is he simply says “you know who I mean Mom his/her skin is a little darker then mine.” He has not been and will not be taught to view or love people differently because they are different in anyway. He simple accepts people for who they are and I think that is a lesson we all need to remind ourselves of everyday. I think today and everyday is a day to remember that we are all one….. we are all human and made and blessed by God.

  • Joe B.

    To Scott in Iowa City; Your total ignorance and lack of basic knowledge is quite profound. Dr. King “borrowed” key elements from his “I Have A Dream” speech from a speech given by the Reverend Archibald Carey, Jr. at the 1952 Republican National Convention.

  • Majawill

    In post-racial America, I believe there will be more emphasis on taking responsibility for oneself. The new president believes so as well. I take him at his word, and hope his actions reflect that view.

  • mike

    best saying i heard, rosa sat so martin could walk, martin walk so obama could run and obama ran so we all can fly

  • Frederic C.

    America, and the world for that matter will never be ‘post-racial,’ but if out growth can feed into the education system at a higher rate then we can hope to become ‘post-racist.’

    All races are amazing and beautiful. The history of the world can be seen in the faces of our friends and us. There is more to race than black and white.

  • millard-fillmore

    Scott in Arizona,

    I’m not much familiar with the history of MLK’s speech, but when I hear the speech or read about it being so great, my default assumption is that it was an original speech that he wrote.

    If that’s not a fact, why do you think it shouldn’t be mentioned? If he plagiarized, or used parts from someone’s speech without attribution, why do you think it’s irrelevant? I’m curious.

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