Students in the advanced class were asked to write an article titled  I was There – an account of a historical event as if they had been present at it. Stephanie chose to describe Martin Luther King’s famous speech during America’s Civil Rights Movement. Here is her impression of what it would have been like if she had witnessed this moment in history.

I was There

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. These are the first words spoken by the American clergyman, Martin Luther King, yesterday at the Lincoln memorial in Washington D.C.

A very moving speech was delivered by the Reverend Dr. King to a quarter of a million people asking for African-American citizenship rights, for justice, freedom and equality. He implored urgently for brotherhood so as to live in a country where black boys and girls are able to join hands with white boys and girls, a country where all the population have the same civil rights, where people respect each other no matter the colour of their skin or their religion and beliefs.

Yesterday, our society reached a point where there is no turning back. We have been asked to put an end to discrimination, segregation and racial injustice, we have been asked to guarantee the inalienable rights of life and liberty to every citizen in the US, to warrant African-American vote in the state of Mississippi, to ensure African-Americans are allowed on public transport. In other words, to secure all African-Americans the rights to pursue their happiness.

We all want to live in a happy society, we all want to be respected, we all deserve to own our bodies, our colour and our thoughts. Can we deny these to others? Is a different colour of skin a valid reason to keep civil rights away from them? Is there any valid reason for doing this? With Martin Luther King, I hope we all have the same dream. A dream of actual cooperation and fair opportunities, recognizing ourselves as fellows.

To sum up, I would like to quote the wise Dr. King. “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 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”   “

If you haven’t watched Martin Luther King’s speech before, take a look at the shortened version below.

Stephanie is part of the Advanced General English class. If you would like more information about these classes or any other levels, take a look at this information.