King’s “I Have a Dream” speech still relevant today


Fabienne Fleurantin/ Staff Writer

Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream Speech” was seared into the minds of thousands of people on August 28, 1963.

He spoke in the hopes of solidifying a future for African-Americans and passing on the message of equality amongst all men and women. Although these words were spoken 54 years ago, it’s uncanny and almost terrifying to read this rhetoric and realize how spot on King’s words were about today’s society.

“…the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination,” King said.

In this day and age, we are seeing less segregation than before but it’s still prevalent in society today.

The Economic Policy Institute states that there is a concentration of black students in economically disadvantaged schools and that makes it harder for them to fight for a future.

“The school that the most disadvantaged black children attend today are segregated because they are located in segregated neighborhoods far distant from truly middle class neighborhoods. We cannot desegregate schools without desegregating these neighborhoods…” writes Richard Rothstein in “Modern Segregation.”

Discrimination has not died either. It’s very much alive, not only for African-Americans, but minorities in general. Women are still paid less than men and according to the FBI’s HCSA report, more than twice as many hate crimes were reported against African-Americans more than any other group.

All men were NOT created equal. This state in itself quantifies that idea.  It’s evident today. Women are still fighting for reproductive health. Immigrants coming into the U.S. find it difficult to establish themselves or even become a citizen.

A white special needs child was brutally attacked because of some mistaken hateful ideal.  Native Americans have the lowest employment rate of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S., according to And even though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law in 1863, the rights of African-Americans were not recognized until more than 100 years after.

We are still judged by the content of our skin, not the content of our character. This is not done by all but it has been practiced. Dylan Roof was taught to hate African-Americans and that led to the senseless murder of nine innocent black lives in cold blood.

When people meet me, they are surprised by my behavior at times because it does not fit the ideal stereotype that has been ingrained in them.

I hope more people are willing to break that concrete image of what they think race is and instead, be open to what race could be.

But one line in King’s speech stunned me silent. It was a statement that reached into the present with such a sense of accuracy.

When King passionately stated: “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”

Sound familiar?

In recent years, we have been plagued with the murders of innocent black men by white Police Officers. Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and numerous others. This statement is the brutal truth of our reality — not that much has changed in over fifty year. It’s scary to think that although time has passed, old fears have not vanished.

It’s eye-opening to see how much King’s words resonate within the realms of today’s society. We realized that his words have helped changed today’s circumstances but we still have far to progress. Hopefully we take these words seriously and cement the change King wanted so long ago today.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community. 


Photo and video by Fabienne Fleurantin.

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