The famous line for which the speech came to be known came as an improvisation as King was ending and Mahalia Jackson called out: “Tell them about the dream, Martin!”
Today the 50th anniversary of the speech was celebrated at the US Capitol, as reported by the BBC as follows:
“Thousands have gathered in the US capital to mark 50 years since Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech on civil rights. Today’s civil rights activists came to Washington with concerns that include jobs, voting rights and gun violence. They marched to the Lincoln Memorial and a new monument, the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial.
“The mother of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager shot dead in Florida last year, was among those due to speak. Sabrina Fulton told the BBC many young African Americans had been left afraid by the acquittal of his killer, neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. She called for a change to laws in many American states which allow the use of deadly force if a person feels seriously threatened. Mr Zimmerman’s acquittal sparked protests in more than 100 cities. Eric Holder, the first black attorney general in US history, paid tribute to the original protesters, in a speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
“They marched in spite of animosity, oppression and brutality because they believed in the greatness of what this nation could become and despaired of the founding promises not kept,” he said.He said the spirit of 1963 now demanded equality for gay people, Latinos, women, the disabled and others. Saturday’s event is being led by the Rev Al Sharpton and King’s son Martin Luther King III. It comes a few days before the actual anniversary of the original march on 28 August 1963. King, who was assassinated in 1968, led about 250,000 people to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall and delivered his famous speech from its steps.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” he said, in one of the most celebrated pieces of American oratory.