On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., took the podium at the March on Washington and addressed the gathered crowd, which numbered 200,000 people or more. His speech became famous for its recurring phrase “I have a dream.” He imagined a future in which “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners" could "sit down together at the table of brotherhood,” a future in which his four children are judged not "by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." King's moving speech became a central part of his legacy.

King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, in 1929. Like his father and grandfather, King studied theology and became a Baptist pastor. In 1957, he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which became a leading civil rights organization. Under King's leadership, the SCLC promoted nonviolent resistance to segregation, often in the form of marches and boycotts. In his campaign for racial equality, King gave hundreds of speeches, and was arrested more than 20 times. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his "nonviolent struggle for civil rights." On April 4, 1968, King was shot and killed while standing on a balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.



to recognize the truth or existence of something.


a formal or official speech.

civil rights
Plural Noun

set of fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all individuals, such as participation in the political system, ability to own property, and due process and equal protection under the law.

civil rights movement

(~1954-1968) process to establish equal rights for all people in the United States, focusing on the rights of African Americans.

enslaved person

person who is owned by another person or group of people.

March on Washington

(March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom) demonstration supporting economic and civil rights for all Americans, held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963, and concluding with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

Nobel Peace Prize

award recognizing the contributions of a person or organization to "work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace."


spiritual leader of a church.


(Southern Christian Leadership Conference) civil rights group often associated with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


study of religion, faith, and spirituality.

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