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Début 1968, Martin Luther King prépare une « marche des pauvres » sur Washington. Le 4 avril à Memphis il est assassiné par un tueur blanc. L'Amérique blanche commence à comprendre la portée du slogan de Malcolm X : The ballot or the bullet (« Le vote ou la balle »), elle célèbre fiévreusement les vertus de Luther King. Des incidents violents éclatent dans plus d'une centaine de villes. L'Amérique noire bouleversée sait désormais que c'était bien un rêve que King scandait avec tant d'éloquence en 1963.

« I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.  »
           
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