Behind the Dream & beyond words

Photo Credit: Common GroundOn August 28, 1963, 34-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. passionately and eloquently shared his ‘Dream’ – in 17 minutes and 1,700 words – and the world awakened. 
As King stood at the foot of the towering memorial to Abraham Lincoln – he had signed the Emancipation Proclamation 100 years earlier – A. Philip Randolph introduced the Baptist preacher/civil rights leader as “the moral authority of our nation.” 
Chosen as the sixth and final speaker – to allow him all the time he needed – King was to deliver the urgent message and declarative statement on the future of the movement. 
Jones, a Juilliard-trained clarinettist – as well as a lawyer – could craft persuasive speeches with lyrical cadence and rhythm. But during the thunderous applause, as thousands wept openly, he told King that his “I Have a Dream” improvisations had eclipsed the musical genius of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. 
In his book, Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech That Transformed a Nation, Jones reports that the famous phrase wasn’t in the draft. He believes the sudden, riveting crescendo was God-given. 
“I hadn’t experienced him speak that way before, as if some cosmic transcendental force possessed him,” recalls Jones. “I remember commenting, ‘This crowd should be ready to go to church.’ It was spellbinding, electrifying, lightning in a bottle.” 
The master orator created his masterpiece, composing, cutting and pasting material in his mind, in real time. Preaching powerfully, he stirred the moral conscience of millions, tapping into core values and yearnings of humanity, speaking prophetically about living life without hatred and violence, inviting his audience to mountaintops, imagining and sharing new perspectives and vision. 
The making of a speech by Bruce Mason: Common Ground.
 
To read the full speech:  I Have A Dream:  Common Ground
To listen to the speech:  I Have A Dream : YouTube

10 thoughts on “Behind the Dream & beyond words

  1. Hello Perpetua,

    He died when I was a one month old baby. He was a great man and I suppose Nelson Mandela took his place. I loved your post. Hugs from down under. Paula xxxxx

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