Five score years ago, a great American, Abraham Lincoln, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

But one hundred years later, the negro is still not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the negro is still sadly crippled by segregation and discrimination.

Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy.

We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for white only”.

We cannot be satisfied as long as a negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

We will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together. And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And when this happens, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands.
And be free at last.

 

Abridged text of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ”I Have a Dream” Speech Aug. 28, 1963