Things You Didn’t Know About Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech
January 16, 2018
All of us would want that "I have a dream" moment. Reagan had it with "Tear down this wall" and Lincoln had it with "Four score and seven years ago". And because today is, in fact, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Day — which is, hopefully, why you've enjoyed doing nothing all day — we're here to give you a little history lesson, too. It's important, today more than ever, that we embrace the ideals of Doctor King as we navigate these rocky political times. At the end of the day, tolerance and knowledge will always prevail in the face of evil.
So, before you figure out how to get that "dream" moment of yours, here are four quick things you probably didn’t know about Martin Luther King’s William Wallace moment.
1. The Crowd Was Restless
The temperature on August 28, 1963 was 87 degrees and King was listed as the 16th speaker of the program. Organizers hoped for a crowd of 100,000. Ultimately, 250,000 showed up, with many of the supporters being left to find shade from the heat.
2. The Dream Had Already Been Stated
King had used the line before at rallies and fundraisers. Some of his advisers liked the message and some advised against it. The night before King’s speech, adviser Wyatt Walker recommended King drop the line as he thought the message was "cliché."
3. King Never Stopped Editing
The papers King took to the podium had words crossed out and notes all over them. Knowing the magnitude of the moment, King was never completely satisfied with any of the drafts. He stayed up till 4 a.m. the previous night trying to get it down.
4. He Went Off-Script
The whole "I have a dream" portion was left off the final draft. When King was wrapping up his speech, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson shouted, "Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin!” The rest is history.