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Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

The March on Washington: 50th Anniversary

This morning, rather than opening the novel I had in my bag, I pulled up a transcript of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. While many people gathered in Washington, D.C., last weekend to observe the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I knew that today is the actual anniversary date. And to me, this speech seemed the only appropriate thing to read as I started the day.

I had read the speech before, but I couldn’t tell you how many years it has been. I’ve seen footage of Dr. King delivering his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, though I really only remembered the final “I have a dream” paragraphs. I’ve marveled over photographs of people tightly packed on the Mall on that August day five decades ago. And I’ve cried listening to interviews with activists who travelled from all over the country in order to exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly to join the march that day.

Reading the speech this morning, I thought about how interesting it is to return to historic documents and read them with the distance of time and place. I’ve had the same feeling reading speeches from Queen Elizabeth I and Abraham Lincoln and Chief Joseph. Because of how recently “I Have a Dream” was delivered, I know that my relationship as a reader is very different. I can choose to watch a video, listen to an audio recording, read a text-only transcript, or thumb through a lushly illustrated book that highlights key passages. No matter how you choose to revisit the speech or share it with others, it’s striking to realize how much has changed since that day and how much we still have to reflect on and work toward.

The following books about Dr. King and his “I Have a Dream” speech are currently available through Scholastic Reading Club.

  • I Have a Dream: Book & CD by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., illustrated by Kadir Nelson
  • Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream Speech in Translation: What It Really Means by Leslie J. Holland
  • What Was the March on Washington? by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Tim Tomkinson
  • 10 Days: Martin Luther King Jr. by David Colbert

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August 28, 2013