When Martin Luther King, Jr, prepared his remarks for his speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington he originally planned to make it short and low-key. He was thinking about the broad audience that he would be addressing. The original printed version of his speech does not even have one occurrence of the word, dream.
Mahalia Jackson, the reigning Queen of Gospel, was there close at hand. She loved King and was incredibly loyal. She had traveled with him in the South to some of the most dangerous destinations, providing music, inspiration and her amazing voice to undergird his message.
During King’s delivery of his speech on that day in August of 1963, King began to improvise his remarks. It was at that moment that Jackson shouted out, “Tell them about the dream, Martin! Tell them about the dream!” What followed were words that went down in history:
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.
It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
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.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”
You can read the full transcript of the speech he delivered here.
Perhaps there is someone in your life that needs encouragement to shine. How might you reach out this week to encourage them to rise?
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
– Dr Martin Luther King Jr.