Monthly Archives: August 2013

On the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

On this day, we are pleased to post this essay by Lucas Morel, Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics and Politics at Washington and Lee University, who considers the lasting legacy of King’s great speech:

Equality, Fairness and Brotherhood: Common Ground for the Nation’s Diverse Citizenry

August 28th, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech,” which ranks among the most famous speeches of the 20th century.  Delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King’s keynote address was heard by over a quarter million people gathered for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  King declared that the goals of the modern Civil Rights Movement were simply “to make real the promises of democracy,” which he found in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  What he called “a dream deeply rooted in the American dream” was based upon a faith, both biblical and constitutional, that “one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed—we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

martin-luther-king-jr With only five blacks serving in Congress, and riots mounting that summer of 1963, the 34-year-old Baptist preacher had faith that the white American majority would do right by the Constitution and their consciences.  This they did, most notably by passing the Civil Rights Act the following summer and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  To be sure, a legislative full press by President (and former Senate majority leader) Lyndon B. Johnson was instrumental to their passage, pursued as a tribute to the slain President John F. Kennedy, who lobbied for a major Civil Rights bill in June 1963.  But King’s televised speech kept the “citizenship rights” of black Americans on the national agenda, and thus paved the way for the passage of serious civil rights legislation for the first time in almost a hundred years. Continue reading

American Military History resources

American Military History e-book

The Foreign Policy Research Institute, in collaboration with the First Division Museum at Cantigny, has released a new e-book entitled American Military History: A Resource for Teachers and Students.  This new volume features a selection of materials presented at FPRI’s series of weekend seminars for high school history teachers.

Download the new e-book at no cost at the FPRI website.

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