Stop Teaching the “I Have a Dream Speech.” Historical Amnesia- Volume Three
*The stories the media never tell
*The villains we need
Most Americans are familiar with the “I Have a Dream Speech” made my Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 during a march on Washington. It was, and still is, inspirational.
But what most Americans are unaware of is that this speech was essentially given seven years earlier by an honorary member of the NAACP- Vice President Richard Nixon.
On October 18 1956 VP Nixon spoke at the Alfred E. Smith Foundation Dinner. Here is an excerpt from the speech;
“Most of us will live to see the day when American boys and girls shall sit, side by side, at any school – public or private – with no regard paid to the color of their skin.”
“Race and religious hatred strike at the roots of that remarkable unity that is the achievement of our nation. For the survival of our highest ideals, we must eradicate them from the face of society.”
“…we should all work to promote understanding, brotherhood and national unity.”
And one last excerpt;
“We know the moral cost – the quiet suffering of millions of our fellow men whose only crime was that they were different in race or religion or color from others in their communities.”
Why do we not focus on this six page speech given at the birth of the Civil Rights movement- just two years after the Brown decision? I encourage all to read the entire speech. A copy is online at The King Center.
No, we should not stop teaching about the 1963 MLK speech. We SHOULD, learn the 1956 Nixon speech too. Nixon was the leading Civil Rights spokesperson in the Eisenhower Administration. Why will many not discuss it in media or high schools or colleges?
The stories the media never tell and the villains we need…
Writer’s note. This was a kickoff for a push to pass the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction. With Nixon as pointman- and despite attempts to kill the bill by Lyndon Johnson- it passed. But not before LBJ weakened it for political reasons.