On Aug. 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and addressed the tens of thousands of people gathered along the Washington Mall, calling for equality and an end to racial discrimination.
His 17-minute I Have a Dream speech marked a key moment, not only for the American Civil Rights Movement, but it also marked a place for King in the annals of American history and oratory.
Who among us doesn't recognize the speech's climactic end?
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
To celebrate Black History Month as well as King 's legacy, the Collective, a CalArts student organization that cultivates African American culture through the arts, hosts a multidisciplinary, multicultural "re-envisioning" of the speech on Monday (Feb. 13) at noon in CalArts' Main Gallery.
The I Have a Dream Project, directed by acting veteran and School of Theater faculty member Fran Bennett, features more than 30 participants, including dancers, musicians, singers, actors, artists from all disciplines as well as administrators, faculty and staff.
Many of participants—who include Theater faculty members Denise Woods and Rafael Lopez-Barrantes and Vice President for International Relations Carol Kim—have been asked to recite a passage from the I Have a Dream speech; others have been asked to interpret the phrase, "I have a dream," through music, dance or visual pieces.
Jasmine Hughes, an MFA 3 actor and president of the Collective, says the project uses a slightly altered text of the speech, and participants are reinterpreting passages in a personal way. "The project takes Dr. King's speech and tailors it for the CalArts community, for artists of the 21st century."
I Have a Dream Project
directed by Fran Bennett
CalArts Main Gallery
Monday, Feb. 13 at noon