Fifty years later, tributes to Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech—and reflections on the speech and the man—abound. A sampling:
- King was a modern-day founding father, "equal to Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and Hamilton," writes Nicholas Burns in the Boston Globe. He helped to eliminate Jim Crow laws, changing the country permanently. He preached nonviolence and hopefulness "rather than hatred and revenge." Ultimately, he helped to create the America that elected a black president. And all of that makes King "the most significant American since Lincoln."
- And his speech is one of the rare ones that has the power to "echo across generations," declares a Guardian editorial. That's because it spoke, powerfully, to both black and white listeners. And though "the dream remains unfinished business," that fact simply "reinforces the power of that moment when Dr. King found the words to make people be better than they were, and the speech's enduring power to inspire."
- In the Washington Post, Martin Luther King III agrees that his father's work is not yet done. "Too many Americans have inadequate opportunities to escape poverty, joblessness, discrimination, social neglect, and violence," he writes, and "African-American youth still have good reason to fear racially motivated violence." He concludes with a simple question: "What is each and every one of us doing to realize the dream of freedom, justice, and equality for all?"
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