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What is the meaning of the "I Have a Dream" speech?

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Quick Answer

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s iconic "I Have a Dream Speech" is about how racial equality is essential for people to peacefully coexist, and racism negatively affects the lives of African-Americans. In the speech, Dr. King especially stressed the need for the current generation to eliminate racism to create a better society for future generations. He also highlighted the steps that need to be taken to achieve racial equality.

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What is the meaning of the "I Have a Dream" speech?
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Full Answer

Dr. King delivered the "I Have a Dream" Speech on Aug. 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial. The speech was given prior to the March on Washington, a peaceful protest against inequality. King began the "I Have a Dream" speech by referencing the Emancipation Proclamation that was issued by President Lincoln to officially free slaves in the United States during the Civil War. King used this reference to point out how African-Americans were, at that time, not yet free from racism, despite the Emancipation Proclamation being signed nearly 100 years prior.

King then described some of the ways the society of that time was segregated and the limitations racism placed on African-Americans. He also listed the "unfulfilled promises" in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution to provide examples of continued racism. King explained how these documents list rights given to U.S. citizens, and profess that men are created equal, yet African-Americans were, at that time, not treated as equals.

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