On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered what is considered to be the top speech delivered in the 20th Century. In his speech, Dr. King called for the end of racism in the United States. Fittingly, the speech was made from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during a March on Washington in front of an estimated crowd of 250,000 civil rights supporters.
In the opinion of many, Dr. King’s message was the defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movements. It was the culmination of years of struggle and a moment of clarity for a nation struggling to define itself racially.
What is interesting about the speech is that toward the end of its delivery, a well-known African American gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson, shouted to Dr. King from the crowd, "Tell them about the dream, Martin."
At that moment, Dr. King stopped delivering his prepared speech and started "preaching". He punctuated his points with the phrase, "I have a dream."
The power of the message delivered on that fateful day was magnified the moment he left his text and began to preach. I believe that it was at that instant that the Holy Spirit empowered Dr. King and his oration ceased being a wonderfully crafted speech and became a powerfully transforming message.
In midst of his “preaching”, Dr. King resonated “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” He was quoting Isaiah 40:4-5.
Dr. King’s message was impactful because he was being like one of the Old Testament Prophets. He spoke of a crisis and an urgency to change or repent from ways that are sinful to ways that are a part of the design of God and therefore pleasing to God. While delivering his “I Have a Dream” portion of his speech, he was being prophetic.
Ultimately, Dr. King knew something that much of America no longer understands or embraces. If we are to truly be a great and sovereign nation where justice prevails and freedom rings, we need to be one nation under God.
Dr. King’s appeal was for us to become a nation that realized God’s will for His people and His children.
The “I Have a Dream” speech is what it was because at the moment of its delivery, Dr. King was not just a Civil Rights Spokesman, but a messenger of God and His Word.
Give it a read and see what you think.