Vintage Campaigns

CAMPAIGN 1 of 4 next

Martin Luther King - I have a dream Long division

As recently as the 1960s, a black man becoming president of the USA would have been unthinkable; right up until then, racial discrimination was built in to the heart of the American constitution, with measures such as the Jim Crow laws enforcing segregation – separate schools, buses and even drinking fountains for blacks and whites.

A King among men

Clergyman and activist Martin Luther King Jr. did not approve of this state-approved prejudice, and devoted his life to righting civil wrongs. One of his greatest achievements was his address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, popularly known as the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. The acoustics there must be amazing – his words are still echoing now.

The art of persuasion

It's a silver-tongued masterpiece of rhetoric, wielding references to the American constitution and the bible as weapons to hammer home the hypocrisies of racial discrimination, whilst somehow maintaining an optimistic and inspiring tone - quite a feat. A poll amongst people who know about these things rated it as the top American speech of the 20th century. The only way to truly appreciate it is, of course, to watch it:

Bluffer's guide to public speaking

Even more impressive is that the most famous bit, all the ‘I have a dream’ stuff, was a partially improvised departure from the prepared text. He winged it, in other words - surely history’s greatest ad lib.

Justice for all

The speech was a defining moment in the American Civil Rights movement. King delivered the speech in 1963; America passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, finally putting an end to constitutional racism like the Jim Crow laws. Martin eventually became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize for all his incredible work doing away with discrimination.