JUNE 23, 1963

Martin Luther King delivers his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream”, before the Lincoln Memorial l during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Credit: Wikipedia

Martin Luther King Jr. led a massive march, joined by as many as 125,000, in Detroit. The words he shared in his speech were similar to those in the “I Have a Dream” speech he delivered two months later from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

He mentioned his friend, Medgar Evers, who had been assassinated just 11 days earlier, and Emmett Till, whose brutal killing helped propel the modern civil rights movement. 

“Before the victory is won, some, like Medgar Evers, may have to face physical death. But if physical death is the price that some must pay to free their children and their white brothers from an eternal psychological death, then nothing can be more redemptive,” he said. “I have a dream that there will be a day that we will no longer face the atrocities that Emmett Till had to face or Medgar Evers had to face, that all men can live with dignity.”

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.