Forty-five years ago Thursday, Americans listened as civil rights
leader Martin Luther King, Jr. described his dream of justice and
King delivered his now-famous "I Have a Dream"
speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the end of a massive
protest march through the nation's capital on August 28, 1963. He
warned that, 100 years after the end of slavery, African-Americans were
still "crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of
In his speech, the civil rights leader detailed
the suffering caused by racism in the United States, and he warned that
African-Americans would no longer put up with second-class treatment.
the speech also was seen as an affirmation of core American values.
Vowing never to give up hope, King said he believed that "one day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed" that all people are created equal.
least 200,000 people marched through Washington, D.C. for the 1963
protest, called the March for Jobs and Freedom. They listened to
speeches by civil rights leaders and performances by folk musicians
like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.
One year later, Congress passed
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting segregation and re-affirming
African-American voting rights.
Thursday, Barack Obama will
formally accept the Democratic party's nomination for president. Obama
is the first African-American major party presidential candidate, and
his speech, coming on the anniversary of King's famous address, will be