A 60th-anniversary edition of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech to debut in August

A commemorative edition of 'I Have a Dream' will be published in tandem with the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington with a foreword from the King children.

It has been nearly six decades since the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, and the ideals expressed in Dr. Martin Luther King’s now-hallowed “I Have a Dream” speech remain aspirational throughout the world. To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the historic march and seminal speech, this week, HarperOne Group announced it will release a special edition of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” this August. 

Martin Luther King Jr., "I Have a Dream" speech, March on Washington, civil rights movement, MLK, Dr, King speech, theGrio.com
The cover, left, of the 60th-anniversary commemorative edition of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. (Credit: HarperOne Group). At right, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gives his “I Have a Dream” at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)

“As we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, and the inspiring dream my father shared on that day, we are called, not only to commemorate his vision, but also to correct the festering injustices of poverty, racism and violence with action,” writes Martin Luther King III in a press release to theGrio. King III, alongside his surviving siblings Dexter Scott King and Dr. Bernice King, will provide the forewords and an afterword for this special edition.

The release will be the latest in HarperCollins Publishers’ longstanding affiliation with Dr. King; the publisher released King’s first book, “Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story,” in 1958, followed by six additional titles, including “Strength to Love” in 1963. In 2021, HarperCollins became the official publisher of Dr. King’s archives, forming “a comprehensive publishing program” that this fall will rerelease his writings “Beyond Vietnam,” “I’ve Been to The Mountaintop,” and “Our God Is Marching On,” as well as an annual special new edition of “I Have a Dream.”

Arguably King’s best-known speech, the themes of “I Have a Dream” still strongly resonate today. 

“I believe the speech is so beloved because of its critical analysis of the conditions of the Negro and race relations in the United States in the 1960s, while yet also ending on a very optimistic tone that inspired belief in a future full of promise,” said Dexter Scott King in a statement. 

Coinciding with a renewed assault on voting and civil rights, critical race theory, and the teaching of Black history in the United States, the rerelease of the speech is especially timely. 

“Despite progress, racial inequality and discrimination persist today,” Judith Curr, president and publisher of the HarperOne Group, said in a statement. “The opportunity to sit and read Dr. King’s speech serves as a reminder that the pursuit of equality is an ongoing struggle that requires continued efforts from us all.” 

In revisiting his oft-quoted words, Dr. Bernice King also urges readers to reconsider their interpretation of her father’s work and legacy.

“Did we compromise and diminish the dream to accommodate a more convenient King? If we are to authentically and with integrity remember and contemplate my father, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, we must thoughtfully answer this question,” she writes. “On the 60th anniversary of the speech, I beckon us to examine how a speech about a revolutionary dream, that was necessitated by the scourges of racism and poverty, is frequently relegated to an emphasis on its triumphant ending without an exploration of its demand for justice.”  

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