Here’s Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech in full on YouTube:
When I was a child, my uncle asked me to find the full text of this speech and copy it for him, as he had recently joined the Toastmasters and wanted copies of famous speeches. I was only a kid without walkable access to the library, so I did what I could: I copied the excerpt that everybody is familiar with out of the “Martin Luther King, Jr.” entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica (we had a six year old set at the time), and typed it up on the screen of our Commodore 64. Twenty five years later, I can watch the full speech any time I have access to a computer, which is 90% of my day.
Forty-six years after Martin Luther King, Jr made that historic address at the Lincoln Memorial, back when it was still legal to bar a white woman from marrying a black man and de facto legal to stop black people from voting, we’ve elected a black man to be our president, with unprecented popularity and support for a president-elect. At the same time, on the YouTube page of King’s speech, comments had to be turned off because of all the hateful racist slurs directed against him, one of the most intelligent and gifted orators in our history. We still have a long way to go.
My hope is that the changes in my experience, from growing up without direct access to information to having it at my fingertips, will continue to help us along in the path toward King’s dream. It might be hoping too much, but then again, even a year ago prominent voices told me that Obama could not be elected president because of his race. It’s human to hope, and I’m not giving that up.