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Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo credit: UIC Digital Collections)

I NEVER heard this before…

Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before a live and televised crowd of millions, Dr. King began to observe something unsettling. He had been delivering the speech as written, pausing regularly for dramatic effect, but more importantly, to see how his intended message was landing.

Some eleven minutes in, he realized he had a problem. The speech he’d prepared wasn’t landing the way it needed to. If he kept on message, some of the power of the moment, and the attention of the world, would have been lost. Right around then, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson shouted “Tell them about the dream, Martin.”

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