How developing nations translated King's message

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When masses of dispossessed black people descended on the National Mall during the March on Washington to demand equal rights in the world's most powerful country, King's "I Have a Dream" speech gave disenfranchised people abroad reason to persist in their own battles against injustices at home. He made them believe that fairer political systems where within reach whether their oppressors where white, black, or brown.

King recognized that by speaking to a larger audience he was putting the U.S. on the hook by putting its racial hypocrisy on the world stage. He also knew he could influence events in other countries, where political leaders might look to follow America's lead, or masses of people might follow the lead of black American civil rights activists. He used moral persuasion at both ends.

"Something is happening in our world," King said on April 3, 1968 in Memphis, the night before he was gunned down. "The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee -- the cry is always the same: 'We want to be free.' "

Today streets are named for King in Bonn, Germany, (Martin Luther King Strasse) in Nantes, France (Rue Martin Luther King), in Cambridgeshire, England (Martin Luther King Close ), in Calcutta, India (Martin Luther King Sarani), in Port-au-Prince Haiti (Avenue Martin Luther King), and in Mexico, Brazil, and countless other countries.

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