Sentamu reflects on King's 'I have a dream' speech

This August 28, 1963, file photo shows Dr Martin Luther King Jr acknowledging the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his 'I Have a Dream' speech during the March on Washington.(AP)

Martin Luther King Jr's 'I have a dream' speech can still inspire change in the world half a century on, reflects the Archbishop of York in an article in the Yorkshire Post. 

Civil rights campaigner King made the speech to over a quarter of a million people in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on 28 August 1963.  

The speech was influential in the passing of the Civil Rights Act the following year, which outlawed racial segregation.  

Dr John Sentamu said King's role in the civil rights movement still provided lessons 50 years after it was delivered.  He encouraged people to reflect on what they too could do for others and how they could 'be the change they want to see'.

He said having an active faith was about "being bold enough to take the first step, being a trailblazer and letting others follow in your path".  

"It takes courage, it takes a yearning to make a difference, and it requires real love to bring lasting transformation," he said.

"Martin Luther King, as a pastor, a deeply committed Christian leader, and a disciple of Jesus Christ, followed Christ's teaching of love and inclusion. Every human being is special because everyone is created in God's image."

The Archbishop encouraged people to remember that individual action "no matter how small" can "always" make a difference.

"To be a great leader such as King, you have to love, you have to set an example, you have to take action, and you have to dream. You have to have that vision and belief that you can make it better," he concluded.

"Remember too, that it was also the courage and resolve of a single woman that got the ball rolling. Too often, people believe that their own contribution is not important.

"I tell you friends, one drop of water can turn a waterwheel. Always aim high and never give up hope."

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