I have a dream today.
King would surely have been aware of Langston Hughes’s phrase “dream deferred,” which figures prominently in a number of his poems. The most famous example begins:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Or does it explode?
The “I Have a Dream” speech argues passionately for an end to all such deferrals, and attempts to defuse the explosive potential of the discontent they’ve caused.
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