stood by the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Much to the knowledge of everyone, he delivered what is regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. King himself seemed to sense the historic importance of the moment as he opened his "I Have a Dream" speech by calling the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom "the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation." The landmark protest, which drew more than 200,000 people, announced a turning point in the civil rights movement and set the stage for the movement's two most important legislative achievements, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (Microsoft Encarta 2005).
It is interesting to speculate on what the course of American history might have been, if Martin Luther King, Jr. had not gone to Montgomery, Alabama in 1954. But he did go, and the America he had grown up in was forever changed. The historic bus boycott that began there in late 1955 brought him national recognition and triggered a decade of direct-action protest that permanently altered the status of black Americans. Andrew Young once said that Rosa Parks thrust greatness upon King. Rosa Parks is a leading member of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who was famous for her refusal to give her bus seat to a white man. ...Show more