7 Things You Didn’t Know about Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

I have a dream speech, Martin Luther King JrToday we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday and his dream that the United States of America would become a nation of equality and unity. Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the best known and most inspirational speeches of all time. But did you know…

  1. The speech was originally titled Normalcy, Never Again.
  2. While Dr. King began the speech reading from prepared text, he abandoned that mid-way through the speech. The “I have a dream…” portion of the speech was improvised.
  3. The speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address.
  4. An official from the Kennedy administration was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with a switch to turn off the sound system if the government thought any speaker was inciting violence. (Reference)
  5. Bob Dylan was 22 years old when he performed before Dr. King’s speech.
  6. For more than 35 years there was a dispute over whether Dr. King’s estate owned the copyright to the speech. See Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc. v. CBS, Inc.
  7. A group of teenagers walked 225 miles from New York City for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom which included Dr. King’s speech. (Reference)

Every movement, every triumph, every success – big or small – starts with a dream. Every one of us can envision a better world.  And every one of us can picture ourselves as a part of the solution, making the world a better place. What’s your dream? If you’re not sure, you don’t have time NOT to dream. This is your one and only life.

Watch Dr. King’s speech and be inspired…

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