This Day in History: Murder of Emmett Till and ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech
Two seminal events inextricably linked to the Civil Rights Movement and forever emblazoned in history happened on August 28. On this date in 1955, a 14-year-old Emmett Till was savagely beaten and tortured for allegedly flirting with a white woman while visiting relatives in a deeply segregated Mississippi. The young teen’s horribly mutilated and battered body, who was put on full display in an open casket, served as an impetus to kick the Civil Rights Movement into high gear. Later that year, the Montgomery bus boycott began.
A mere 8 years later in 1963, the speech that would leave an indelible mark on the American psyche was “I Have a Dream,” delivered by the iconic Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Taking place during the March on Washington, the speech called for an end to racism, discrimination and full equality for all citizens. With an audience of more than a quarter of a million people, the speech has become a defining moment of the movement and one of the best speeches in the 20th century.
On this day, let’s take a moment to fully understand and appreciate how these events forever changed the course of this country and how we must keep pushing forward to ensure that Emmett’s death and Dr. King’s speech did not occur in vain.