Huffpost Black Voices

Shaping a Speech, 50 Years After ‘I Have a Dream'

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BARACK OBAMA MARTIN LUTHER KING
FILE - In this combination of file photos, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at a peace rally in New York on April 15, 1967, left, and President Barack Obama speaks at an election night party in Chicago after winning a second term in office on Nov. 7, 2012. Inauguration Day coincides with the King holiday, marking what some say is an inextricable tie between the nation's first black president and the civil rights movement. Obama plans to incorporate the legacy of that movement into his inau | AP

Talk about pressure.

On Aug. 28, 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. capped the March on Washington with his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Next week, President Obama will mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington with a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, willingly putting himself in the very place where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of America’s greatest oratories five decades ago.

The split-screen comparisons are as inevitable as they are unwanted. A gifted orator himself, Mr. Obama nonetheless faces an unenviable task: to offer Americans a stirring, resonant moment that goes beyond his sometimes professorial remarks, without falling into a politically dangerous mimicry of Dr. King’s cadences and rhythms.

But the challenge has become something of a self-created one for Mr. Obama during his presidency.

Read the whole story at NYTIMES