I was amazed to learn that Dr King improvised the most memorable parts of the speech. He paused after reaching the seventh paragraph of his prepared remarks and at that point singer Mahalia Jackson, who was listening on stage, called out : ” Tell ’em about the ‘Dream’ Martin, tell ’em about the ‘Dream!'”
“And he improvised it all. He spoke of children of different races holding hands. He spoke of a great metaphoric leveling of the land and a straightening out of ‘crooked places,’ which of course has an amazing dual meaning that would take some writers a lifetime to come up with.
It was hypnotic. Each time Martin told us that he had a dream, the world was pulled one step closer inside it. I’ve never seen anything like it.
The crowd was rapt. I was charged with a feverish kind of love for my friend. By the time Martin quoted Samuel Francis Smith’s “America” I figured you could measure the tears of joy in the crowd by the gallon.”
Proof that the right person at the right time with the right words really can change history.