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Posts Tagged ‘I have a dream’

“As the suggestion took root, I watched Martin push aside the text of the speech I’d helped prepare – a text it bears noting, that did not contain the phrase ‘I have a dream’ ”

Behind the Dream : The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation by Clarence B Jones

As it is Martin Luther King Day, it felt appropriate to read this behind the scenes look at the creation of the momentous “I Have A Dream” speech.

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.

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There were two important anniversaries during the past week:

Dr Martin Luther King Jr‘s “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28 1963. Although 47 years have passed, it seems just as important today to try to live up to his ideals:

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”

– the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Getty Images photographer Mario Tama’s new book Coming Back: New Orleans Resurgent captures the city’s unique spirit.

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