I Have a Dream
Guidelines for the “I Have a Dream” Contest Essay Assignment (6%)
New Deadline: Monday, April 28, 11:59 p.m.
The length of your speech essay must be 2 pages (400-500 words; typed and double-spaced), excluding bibliographical information. You must discuss what dreams you have for the United States (and
beyond) in light of your understanding of the second half of American history. If necessary, you may refer to the first half (from the colonial period until the Civil War and Reconstruction).
This is a speech contest. On Friday, May 2, the top 5-7 essays will be presented, and we will vote for top three speeches. The three winners will receive extra credit (3, 2, and 1%). The names of the top 5-7
speech writers will be announced in class on Wednesday, April 30, and they will be asked to prepare for the contest on Friday.
You must provide information on all outside sources, including websites, if you use them. Please upload your essay in MSWord to a folder entitled “I Have a Dream” in the Content section on Blackboard,
which is equipped with a plagiarism detection device. You will receive an SA (SafeAssign) report, and your matching rate has to be less than 15%. This does not apply to any wording borrowed from the “I
Have a Dream” speech (see below). Once your work is submitted, no alternations will be allowed.
Recollect historical and contemporary matters we have discussed this semester and, if necessary, utilize your assignments, including Blackboard discussion posts.
Choose a topic that is close to your heart. It must be specific as well as relevant to local, national, or global problems. You may also want to consider how U.S. history is connected with your own discipline
and/or future career (engineering, nursing, criminal justice, etc.)
Possible topics include, but are not limited to: the size of government, economy, money and politics, consumer culture, media, education, religion, morality, race, gender, class (wealth and poverty in America),
sexual orientation, the role of citizens in American democracy, crimes, drugs, war, peace, globalization and America’s place in the world, healthcare, the national debt, immigrants, American workers, and
You are going to become what you eat. America is going to become what its people think. Be a brave dreamer and share enlightening ideas. Don’t settle for mediocrity just by wanting the stereotypical
American dream. Be imaginative and create America’s new normal in the belief that the spirit is transferrable. Be a visionary rather than a crowd follower. The following are questions that may help develop
What country would you desire for your children and grandchildren?
What changes would you like to see in America in your lifetime? How would the country be better after you have lived in it?
How would you like to be remembered by other people after you are gone?
If you have enough time and money to start a movement, what would it be?
During the American War of Independence, General George Washington said of his ragtag army: “The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this army.” If you’d
like to be heroic and valuable like him, how would you contribute to the well-being of “unborn millions” in America?
If you are an international student, and if you would prefer to do this assignment from a global perspective, discuss what the rest of the world want America to be like.
This assignment is inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington in 1963. In order to make your speech sound like his, please describe what problems the U.S.
has faced and then move on to what dreams should come true for the nation. You are also encouraged (but not obliged) to use any of the following words from “I Have a Dream”:
“But we (or I) refuse to believe that…. We (or I) refuse to believe that….”
“This is no time to engage in the luxury of –ing or to…. Now is the time to…. Now is the time to…. Now is the time to…. Now is the time to….”
“It would be fatal for the nation to (overlook the urgency of the moment).”
“There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until ….”
“The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”
“But there is something that I must say to my people, who….”
“Let us not seek to….”
“Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of –ing….”
“There are those who are asking…, ‘When will you be satisfied?’ We can never be satisfied as long as…. We can never be satisfied as long as…. We cannot be satisfied as long as…. We can never be
satisfied as long as…. We cannot be satisfied as long as…. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until….”
“I am not unmindful that….”
“Continue to work with the faith that….”
“…, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.”
“Let us not …, I say to you today, my friends.”
“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.”
“I have a dream that one day (this nation will rise up and)….”
“I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day, …will….”
“I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day, …shall….”
“This is our hope, and this is the faith that I…with.”
“With this faith, we will be able to…. With this faith, we will be able to…. With this faith, we will be able to…, to…, to…, to…, to…, knowing that we will… one day.”
“And this will be the day — this will be the day when… will be able to….”
“And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.”
Be sure to include a catch slogan in your essay. What metaphor captures the essence of your vision? MLK used the metaphor of black and white children playing together as sisters and brothers. Imagine
vividly in your mind’s eye what America should look like.
Your essay may include up to one quote from your favorite (American) figure. Dr. King, for example, remarked: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
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