What Dr. King Really Meant in his: I Have a Dream Speech
In 1963 one of the major staples of the whole Civil Rights Movement was born. While leading the March on Washington, Dr. King delivered his most famous speech during his life. The I Have a Dream speech spoke of the hopes of what was wanted to be achieved from the Civil Rights Moment. In it King referenced man historical documents and statements about freedom such as, “They were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.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”. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made this reference to what the founders stated in the Declaration of Independence that with that document every man will be considered free. He then went on to discuss how the people of America went on to ignore the wishes of the founding fathers and treat the Negros as if they were nothing. Most people only focus on the ending of the “I Have a Dream Speech”, where Dr. King talks about what he hopes will happen for him and his kids, and all the Negros overall in the near future. These statements come in the last 3 or 4 minutes of the entire speech which overall is about 17 minutes in length. Nobody these days or really even back then ever stopped to really consider everything he said and what is actually the true meaning of the “I Have a Dream” speech. I believe that what he is actually trying to say is that the Negros have always been there fighting and that they won’t stop fighting for their rights. He is saying that nothing is going to stop them and that they are not going to go away. Basically, his main point is that no one is going to bring them down.
Dr. King wanted to give a message of hope to everyone which the end of the speech provides you with, a message of hope. There is so much more in that speech though that leads up to him giving a message of hope. Hope is only his closing. He provides everyone with the information on how the Negros will never stop fighting for what they want. He is stating that they are there and are up for the fight of their lives to achieve what they want. He speaks of how they have truly fighting for themselves ever since they were brought to this country, and especially since Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation almost a century earlier. He explained how that document was supposed to make all Negros free and equal in the great land of America. He then goes onto explain that “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. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land”. He explains because of how this is been going on for so long that they are now there to express themselves. He says that through the event and through this very important speech that they are here to “dramatize” and bring to life what they want to gain from the Civil Rights Movement, what they have been trying to gain for the last 100 years and in reality even longer then that. He believed that “we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt”, that he thought there was no reason why justice could not be served and all his fellow Negros could not be treated not with just the same rights, but as an equal to any white person that they may encounter in their days.
Another major point Dr. King is trying to make with his speech is that America should not just overlook the fight for Civil Rights that is going on right in front of their eyes. He says that if they just overlook and push this huge issue to the side then it could be fatal. He uses this speech as a sort of warning; to get the message across that his people are not going to just go away if nothing happens, that they will just keep putting up a stronger fight until something happens. He states that the year of 1963 is not an end, but the opposite. It is just the beginning of this long winded fight for equality. He warns that this movement is not just them letting their anger be expressed but states “And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights”. He wants the country to know that change is coming and that this fight is just the beginning of it.
The final point that I believe Dr. King was trying to make with his famous speech, is a message to the Negros saying that they must accept the wrongs that they do in this fight and warns “In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds”. This is Dr. Kings way of warning his people that they should not fall to the easy use of violence, that simply fighting is not the answer. He does not want his people to become hateful to everyone, try and show love, in the hopes that someday, the love will be returned. He says that they must be civil and eventually they will be seen as equals.
Thus, therefore, and hence, I believe that yes Dr. Kings I have a dream speech did have a message of hope in it, but it also shows so much more. It expresses the fight of a people, for what they truly deserve. It is also a warning to everyone that the Negros have always been here and will always be there, fighting for their fair and equal rights.