Daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. says her father's famous 'Dream' speech is misunderstood

George Back
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

Bernice A. King is the CEO of The King Center and the youngest daughter of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. On Thursday, she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she clarified some of her father’s most misused quotes.

“My father was one of the most hated men in America and now he's one of the most loved men in the world,” said King, “So much so that people do take liberties to take different quotes to fit their situation and nothing is more frustrating for me than that.”

King gave examples of her father’s words being used out of context, including his belief that riots were the “language of the unheard.” She said, “He was not justifying and saying that he endorsed riots, he was explaining where the riots are coming from.”

One of the most glaring examples King provided was from her father’s famous “Dream” speech. She claimed the line, “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,” is often misunderstood.

“People are always saying he was for a color-blind America and nothing could be further from the truth,” said King. “He was basically explaining that no, there is a beauty in who I am as a black person, but I should not be judged by those standards.”

While King was on the show she also promoted #ProtestFromHome. The King Center created the hashtag to give those who do not have the means to physically demonstrate a platform. If you would like to find out more, visit TheKingCenter.org.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on NBC.

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