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NAU Celebrates Black History Month

I Have a Dream

I Have a Dream Context

“Dr. King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech is rightly regarded as a watershed moment in the civil rights movement, and one of the most famous and influential orations of the American history,” said Kevin Young, the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “Seeing the speech in person only reinforces the ways that King was a brilliant rhetorician and inspiring leader—his words not only resonate today, but we can see how this version of his remarks was just a starting point for him to transform the podium into a pulpit, the speech into a sermon on history and hope, and the occasion into one for the ages.” 

“This artifact is one of several drafts of the speech written by King and his advisors hours before the march began,” said Kevin Strait, curator at the museum. “The speech was slotted to be a four-minute closing to the march; however, it became a powerful 16-minute rallying cry for the entire civil rights movement.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Original “I Have a Dream” Speech on Display for the First Time at the National Museum of African American History and Culture