Lincoln's Front-Row Seat to History

By Emma Fidel And Jane Hwang - 2013-08-27T22:31:28Z

Photograph by Hullton Archive/Getty Images

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Prayer Pilgrimage

Six years before King shared his dream with the world, he practiced by addressing 30,000 people at the memorial. The Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, 1957, celebrated the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision and called for faster desegregation and fairer voting practices. "All types of conniving methods are still being used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters," King said in his speech. "The denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition. So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself."