President Obama’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial this afternoon (see the text HERE) fell short of the stirring eloquence of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech of 50 years ago today.
But neither should Obama’s effort have been expected to come anywhere close to King’s historic address. Nobody now living is capable of that.
The characteristics that most distinguished King’s speeches were the rhythms and cadences they borrowed from the traditions of what he himself called the old Negro spirituals. They were sermons as much as speeches, religious as much as (or more than) political.
In all ...