The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963, 50 years ago today, was eight weeks and almost two centuries in the making. Clarence B. Jones, King’s personal attorney, said,
The March on Washington was the culmination of more than 1,300 protests taking place in 36 states….Between April and Aug. 28, starting with Birmingham, the country witnessed the most vicious racial state oppression of Negroes to enforce racial segregation that we had seen since the Civil War.
Yet to this day many scholars point to disparities between whites and blacks in education, employment and incarceration as proof that there’s still a lot of work to be done. The speech is even more significant now, said Lewis Baldwin, a professor of religion at Vanderbilt University
…because poverty is much more pervasive than it was in King’s time. Homelessness is much more pervasive than the problem was in King’s time.
The American dream is still something that we have to work toward and we have to struggle for. We have to be on a mission to achieve it.
The most famous paragraph, in the middle of the speech, is as follows:
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 one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four 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. I have a dream today.