I HAVE A DREAM
BY MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
DELIVERED ON AUGUST 28, 1963 AT THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation… But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination…
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation… Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children…
I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal…”
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…
(Because the text of the speech is licensed by Intellectual Properties Management, Atlanta, GA as exclusive Licensor of the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. (which holds the copyright), the excerpts of this speech are given for academic and educational purposes only in compliance with the “fair use” doctrine)