2013-08-28 13:35:11

I have a dream: Revisiting Martin Luther King’s iconic speech 50 years on

(Vatican Radio) It’s been described as one of the greatest speeches of all times and it helped to set the stage for sweeping changes in U.S. society. Those landmark changes included the 1964 Civil rights Act that banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion or sex. A civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech at the end of a huge march on Washington by around a quarter of a million people calling for full civil and economic rights for African Americans.

Antoinette Hurtado is the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See and she spoke to Susy Hodges about the lasting impact of King’s speech.

Listen to the full interview: RealAudioMP3

Hurtado agrees that the speech marked a watershed: "It really did change the course of U.S. history," she says. On a more personal level, "it means a great deal" to her "as a person of color and a woman" because she feels she is "a beneficiary" of the changes brought about by King's speech.

Hurtado went on to speak about Martin Luther King's religious beliefs. "He was a man of faith, a Christian, who used that as the foundation for much of what he believed in and what he called for in his speeches." She also praised King's insistence on "non-violence" at all times. "He made a passionate call for change but he always condemned violence."

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