THE night before the March on Washington in 1963 Martin Luther King asked his aides for advice about the next day’s speech. ‘Don’t use the lines about “I have a dream,”‘ Wyatt Walker told him ‘It’s trite, it’s cliche. You’ve used it too many times already.’Martin Luther King delivered many speeches (at least 350 in 1963 alone).
Many speeches have been delivered on civil rights and, indeed, were delivered at the March on Washington. So what was it that made that particular speech historical? And what makes it great? Why do we remember it? How do we remember it? What is it about it that we like to remember? And what about it have we chosen to forget?Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous address, Gary Young examines what made the speech so timely … and so timeless.
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