Comment on 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

Commenting on the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, Chuka Umunna MP said: 

“In many ways our whole society today stands on the shoulders of the giant that is Martin Luther King Jr – in my view he was the greatest ever orator of modern times. His speech 50 years ago on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington was an extraordinary speech, and I don’t think we have ever really heard the like since, certainly not from another speaker.

“Growing up, Martin Luther King Jr was a great inspiration to so many people of my generation, and he will continue to be for generations to come. Black people in the United States had been systematically denied their rights and freedoms for so long, and this speech was a demand to address that great ill, not just for black people, but the whole of human society in America. For me what he was saying goes to the heart of my politics, that the triumph of our liberty, our freedom and our achievements are all dependent on our mutual obligations, our shared history, and our collective endeavour – that we are all mutually interdependent in the struggle to achieve better lives and a better society, and that this is a struggle worth sacrifice.

“That moment in history 50 years ago demanded someone of the charisma, the power and the passion of Martin Luther King Jr, and the world now is a far better place because of what he did and said. There are still many things to do to stamp out discrimination and inequity where they exist, and those are struggles for our and future generations to win, but there is no doubt that this speech, and his life’s work, marked what would become an extraordinary moment of progress and triumph for the forces of good.”