Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968) addresses crowds during the March On Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, where he gave his 'I Have A Dream' speech on Aug. 28, 1963.
Photo: Central Press/Getty Images
Photo: Central Press/Getty Images

Aug. 28, 1963: Rita Dove learned to fly as a poet listening to King’s 'Dream'

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove turned 11 on Aug. 28, 1963. Her family had traveled to Washington from Akron so her father could attend the March on Washington.

Dove was not allowed to march, so she watched the event on her cousin’s TV.

“Our parents made this decision for us to stay behind because they felt that was probably going to be dangerous and wanted to make sure that it was all right,” Dove said. 

Former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winner Rita Dove delivers the keynote address was born Aug. 28, 1952. She spent her 11th birthday in Washington, where he father was attending the March on Washington.
Photo: Bob Andres

But Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech played a major role in Dove’s development as a person and a poet.

“I was already fascinated with words and poetry, so the repetition of King’s speech was mesmerizing,” said Dove, who would also serve as the country’s poet laureate.

After the march they had birthday cake.

Read the full story behind Aug. 28 and its impact on America on


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