First Topic – The Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr and the Speech that Inspired a Nation
In 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. electrified the nation when he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. King's prophetic utterances started the long overdue process of changing America's idea of itself. His words would enter the American lexicon, galvanizing the civil rights movement, becoming a touchstone for all that the country might someday achieve. On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday, we look at the first book about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legendary "I Have a Dream" speech. Opening with an enthralling account of the August day in 1963 that saw 250,000 Americans converge at the March on Washington, The Dream delves into the fascinating and little-known history of King's speech. Drew Hansen explores King's compositional strategies and techniques, and proceeds to a brilliant analysis of the "I Have a Dream" speech itself, examining it on various levels: as a political treatise, a work of poetry, and as a masterfully delivered and improvised sermon bursting with biblical language and imagery.
Second Topic – One Dream or Two? Justice in America and in the Thought of Martin Luther King Jr
One Dream or Two? is a critical historical, constitutional, and philosophical examination of Martin Luther King Jr's understanding of justice--his "Dream"--from within the context of the American political tradition. Nathan Schlueter introduces King's "I Have a Dream Speech" and then isolates elements of his larger vision for social justice--paying special attention to issues of racial discrimination, political economy, civil disobedience, and the relationship between politics and religion--situating those elements within historical, rhetorical, and political context.