"I Have A Dream" 50 Years Later

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963. (National Archives, USIA/Wikimedia Commons)

Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (Simon & Schuster), joins us to look back on the 50 years of civil rights history since the March on Washington.

Comments [32]

@john from office

"What would MLK say about:"

If MLK were alive to say anything today, he would decry how the income generated by our economy is piled into so few pockets.

The 'average' income of 1963 (about $5,000) could be used to purchase far more in an economy of $645B than today's average income of $42K can purchase in our $15.5T economy. The pie has grown faster than the slices and the wealth the nation generates is being stolen by the few.

Redistribution of the existing wealth is called socialist. Appropriation of the growth of the economy into the bank accounts of those who did not create it is theft. Which would you rather be? A thief or a socialist?

Sep. 03 2013 01:02 PM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Where were all the GOP Leaders at the 50th anniversary of the March? They purposefully STAYED AWAY!! And then relied on BMN (later retracted by Bill O himself) that they were not invited.

Take a moment to enjoy the delicious irony of the party that was formed around the abolition of slavery not taking part in anniversary that marked the death of Jim Crow in the U.S.A.

Yeah, we still have problems but the stain of 'legal segregation' isn't one of them.

Sep. 03 2013 12:55 PM
A New Frontier in Civil Disobedience - Using the L from Using the Law to "Fight the Power"

A New Frontier in Civil Disobedience - Using the Law to "Fight the Power"

In our post-Citizens United nation, it is increasingly easy for
people with an oligarchic (or cleptocratic) hold on power
to ignore or silence protest.

There is a new frontier in Civil Disobedience however :
Using the LAW to "Fight the Power".

Here are some of this movement's recent heros :

Richmond, Calif., Mayor Gayle McLaughlin
Using Eminent Domain to protect neighborhoods from forclosure

Patrick Rodgers, Philadelphia man who forclosed on Wells Fargo

David Anziska NY Lawyer who filed a class action against law schools on behalf
of unemployed law grads.

I hope Brian Lehrer will invite them for a special show and
public discussion!

Aug. 26 2013 04:38 PM
Victor from New Jersey

Brian, I was insulted by your comments implying that modern day republicans and conservatives use the same language that segregationists used in 1960 in regard to "big government". You made a parallel between racially charged talk of 1960s and the small government language being used by conservatives today. The parallel is invalid. If different people have a common approach to a certain concept, it does not mean you can conclude that other believes are also shared. This is like I am saying that if you are for a big government, you are a communist. Would you like it? I am a conservative and you owe me an apology. Victor.

Aug. 23 2013 09:20 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Martin Luther King was a minor figure compared to the real movers and shakers.

The people who really ended segregation in the US were the Media and Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, who was assassinated by a Palestinian.

Aug. 22 2013 12:06 PM
Estelle from Brooklyn

Whenever I hear the "I have a Dream" speech, I think of another well known speech for which we have no recording, "The Sermon on the Mount." In every movie of the life of Christ that I have seen, this speech is given in an insipid, preachy voice. I wish someone would make a movie in which Christ delivers the Sermon in a voice like Martin Luther King's. After all, to have moved people Christ must have spoken in a similarly impassioned voice.

By the way, I'm Jewish but I love the message of that Sermon. I'd like to hear it done "right."

Aug. 22 2013 11:54 AM
The Truth from Becky

CIVIL RIGHTS 50 YEARS later...sadly little has changed.

Aug. 22 2013 11:51 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

For The Truth from Becky, from all the guys, a big bow wow wow...

Aug. 22 2013 11:48 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

mr bad - you got it right, king was indeed a socialist. radical as well, because he attempted to disrupt the capitalist system.

Aug. 22 2013 11:44 AM
Mousey from Tribeca

Ed from Larchmont, I hope you don't mean what it looks like you imply: that the 60s were great because women's rights had not yet been asserted, because you males could still get all the action and glory while we women ran the mimeograph machines and the errands a d did the laundry, and we risked both death and jail if we got pregnant and did not want to immediately become a single parent while the guy just went on with his life. Or if you mean things got more serious and heavy and dangerous and devisive, it was plenty that way already with how dangerous it was to help register black voters in the south or to oppose the Vietnam Namm War. Or maybe you meant something else by your comment?

Aug. 22 2013 11:44 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ The Truth from Becky

Uhm, I wasn't complimenting you. Reading comprehension issues on your end? Try reading out loud, sound out the words, worked for me in 1st grade, now I read like a champ! You can too with some practice. I'll leave you to it.

Aug. 22 2013 11:42 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


LOL, whatever.
Have a nice day (full of unrelenting rage.)

Aug. 22 2013 11:40 AM
The Truth from Becky

CIVIL RIGHTS 50 YEARS LATER?.....sadly little has changed.

Aug. 22 2013 11:40 AM
The Truth from Becky

FYI Mr. Bad, the LEAST valuable thing on this earth is your compliment! and I damn sure don't need you to send me "links" on anything to do with Dr. King, I happened to have lived through that time. You want slogans? How about lyrics..."You ain't Bad, You ain't nuthin'--MJ) (if I can read more than slogan?!) here's a slogan for ya Kiss my azz!

Aug. 22 2013 11:38 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ The Truth from Becky

I think that, whether you are for or against it, guaranteed annual incomes for all is a "radical" idea. I'm sure King would be oh so proud of your ALL CAPS ignorance, a fitting end to his "dream"...

Aug. 22 2013 11:36 AM
Demetrius from Stony Brook, Long Island

Voluntarily or involuntarily Brian, but the March on Washington in the official history of America manipulated.
ML King has become the face of the march, but he never was the leader of the movement or the march. Other people were the leaders over there, like Philip Randolph. They deliberately forgotten, not only because they were socialists and communists, but the main reason is to dilute a call for social justice, and to replace its by "freedom", which in America are very many meanings, that makes no sense, but freedom to oppress other people. I was on the march as a altar boy of the Greek Archbishop Iakovos, by the way, the Great man, also forgotten.

Aug. 22 2013 11:32 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Yes John, since you believe in guilt by association or in your case - by ethnic group.

Can you, as a "Latino" give me back the tax money Espada and Montserrat stole from me? You have it right?

Aug. 22 2013 11:30 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ The Truth from Becky

Well, I meant it as a compliment but never mind that. If you can manage to read something longer than a slogan look at this:

An excerpt:

"To his family, King was murdered because he was no longer the King of the March on Washington, simply asking for the whites only signs to come down. He had grown radical: the King of 1968 was trying to build an interracial coalition to end the war in Vietnam and force major economic reforms--starting with guaranteed annual incomes for all. They charge that the government, probably with Lyndon Johnson's knowledge, feared King might topple the "power structure" and had him assassinated. "The economic movement was why he was killed, frankly," Martin Luther King III told NEWSWEEK. "That was frightening to the powers that be." They allege there were political reasons, too. "RFK was considering him as a vice presidential candidate," says Dexter, King's third child. "It's not widely known or discussed, [but] obviously those watching him knew of it. They [Kennedy and King] were both considered powerful and influential in terms of bringing together a multiracial coalition."

Aug. 22 2013 11:30 AM
Jennifer from FLushing

I remember watching this speech in my English class in high school in lat eighties. I was so moved and am still moved every time I hear it. While I credit my parents to raising me to believe we're all God's children and being socialized with different races at a very young age, without King, maybe that environment would have never existed by the time I came into this world.

Aug. 22 2013 11:30 AM
Laurie Spiegel from Ground Zero

Fear of "big government", fear of Washington, the "states rights" argument - especially in the civil rights era, are natural successors of the Confederacy's secessionism. It is not exactly a coincidence that ideas used to defend slavery were rephrased to be used to defend segregation and now used against a black president's policies (i.e. "Obamacare").

Aug. 22 2013 11:27 AM
The Truth from Becky

How do you call a man who is screaming non violent protest at the top of his lungs "radical"?? YOu have to be a complete idiot to do so...calling him a communist "might" have been to smear and undermine? "might" have gotten Dr. King killed? hmm ya think?

So disgusted with these 3 idiots!!

Aug. 22 2013 11:25 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Oh Boy. The freaks & nut jobs have come out today.

Aug. 22 2013 11:24 AM
The Truth from Becky

John fyi rappers and other entertainers are ALSO part of the dream..there are many successful Black Americans you CHOOSE to focus on the negative, you need to move out of NY and expand your horizons and perhaps your prejudice once you have had a taste of good ole southern racism against latinos like yourself, perhaps you will come back home with a different perspective.

These two idiots make this an unpleasant forum to visit!

Aug. 22 2013 11:20 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

But King was a socialist. Calling him a communist at that time may have been a smear and an attempt to undermine Civil Rights but King was very passionate about reforming capitalism and it probably got him killed. King has been "whitewashed" to make him an acceptable American saint but he was actually a genuine radical whose views went far beyond civil rights.

Aug. 22 2013 11:18 AM
The Truth from Becky

Right Martin, it should follow the story of the white teen that walked into a predominantly Black elementary school in Atlanta yesterday armed to the teeth. No Mr. Jackson or Mr. Sharpton there either so what's your damn point?

Nothing has changed as long as idiots like this one is alive nothing will change until his generation dies out.

Aug. 22 2013 11:18 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The '60s were such a wonderful time, but in 1972-73 it all came to a crashing halt. The spirit of it, in my view, was crushed by the move for legal abortion.

Aug. 22 2013 11:16 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

thanks marty, now go back to your cave..... you knuckledraggers take the cake... too funny

Aug. 22 2013 11:16 AM
john from office

Negro-Socialist, you never answered the question, what would he say??

MLK was a great American, I think he expected much more than Lil Wayne and Hip Hop Mayors.

Aug. 22 2013 11:15 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

"For 'the Fun of It'
The debate we aren't having about a murder in Oklahoma."

"Three black teenagers were charged Tuesday in the killing of a white college student in Duncan, Oklahoma, (...told police that the three boys were bored and had killed Lane for "the fun of it.") and part of the story is what didn't happen. There was no saturation cable TV coverage, no press conference featuring Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, and no statement from the Oval Office. The death of Christopher Lane, while as troubling as that of Trayvon Martin, will not become a national touchstone of racial and cultural debate or reflection."

Aug. 22 2013 11:09 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

john from office - the resident idiot at it again... do you get paid for your stupidity knuckledragger.... too funny

Aug. 22 2013 11:07 AM
john from office

What would MLK say about:

1) Detroit and its "leaders", including the hip hop mayor
2) Newark, and its failure
3) Camden and its failure
4) Integrated Schools that are "dangerous"
5) Failure of the black family, no Dads
6) Street Culture, droopy Drawers, and street fashion in general
7) Hip Hop "culture", Rap music in general
8) The use of the N word by todays youth?

I say he would be disappointed and wonder what the many lost lives were for?

Aug. 22 2013 10:54 AM
John from Fanwood

A little known fact about MLK and the speech is that Dr. King sued the newspapers that reproduced and distributed copies of the "I Had A Dream" speech on paper and cassettes. Dr. King copyrighted the speech and sued the Post and News for infringement in the Federal Court in Manhattan. I worked for the National Archives, which used to be above the Village Post Office across the street from your studio, and we had the legal papers filed in the case. I used to display the case, which included an affidavit signed by MLK, every year on his birthday.

Aug. 22 2013 10:40 AM

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