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The Dream Today

This article is two years old but is apropos given that today is the anniversary of the march on Washington D.C. and MLK’s “I have a dream” speech. Also below is an interesting biblical analysis of the speech.


National Review Online asked a panel of distinguished commenters to assess where Dr. King’s dream stands, 50 years after his historic speech.


Fifty years ago, Dr. King provided America with a provocative vision, in which our republic would become a place of greater political and economic liberty for African Americans. However, in 2013, when we examine the black underclass in cities like Detroit, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., we can see how the politics of progressivism singlehandedly turned King’s dream into a nightmare.

For example, low-income black families were obliterated by welfare programs that emerged out of the Johnson administration’s failed “War on Poverty.” Welfare destroyed the incentives for men to marry and care for their children, remain employed, and save money for the long term. Today, as a result of progressivist social visions, only about 26 percent of black women marry, compared with 51 percent for white women. In 1950, 64 percent of African American women married, compared with 67 percent for white women. Without flourishing families, low-income blacks were doomed to government dependency and cyclical poverty.

Dr. King and I share the same dream: African Americans should experience more liberty instead of less.

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References and Allusions in the “I Have a Dream Speech”

The “I Have a Dream” speech contains many references and allusions to key ideas, sites, and documents of American civic culture.  The text below contains relevant links in red.A major theme of our textbook is the relevance of religion in American public life.  Many passages in the speech refer or allude to Bible verses, spiritual songs, sermons, and other aspects of religion. These links are in blue.


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

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.

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