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今から45年前の1963年8月28日、マーティン・ルーサー・キング・ジュニア(Martin Luther King, Jr)らによって、人種差別撤廃を求める運動の一環としてワシントン大行進(The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom)が行われ、20万人以上が参加しました。
その行進の途中で、キング牧師は有名な「I Have a Dream」の演説を行います。
この演説は、即興で行われたとのことですが、“I have a dream”のフレーズを何度も繰り返して、人種平等社会の実現を訴えた20世紀アメリカを代表する名演説として知られています。
また、口に出して読んでみると、“I have a dream”のフレーズの繰り返しが、独特のリズムを生んでいることにも気付かされます。


I Have a Dream

(Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963)

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

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