Tag Archives: martin luther king

Martin Luther King: How the dream speech wasn’t planned

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It was one of the most famous speeches ever made and led to two major pieces of Civil Rights legislation in the USA.

Yet, in issue 1277 of the Big Issue, author Philip Collins tells how Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” on August 28th 1963 in The Mall, Washington DC, wasn’t planned as it happened.

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This single photograph shows an amazing crucible of American history


This is the fifteenth of my posts based on a recent tour of the eastern half of the USA. I visited a number of sites relevant to African American history. To mark Black History Month, I am relating some of the things I saw, in the order I saw them.

Without any doubt, the highlight of my USA tour was my visit to Mongomery, Alabama. To coin a phrase of Stephen Fry’s, for someone interested in history, it was like swimming through liquid chocolate. Within half a mile of the State Capitol, there are a clutch of historic sites which bore witness to some of the most seminal events in the history of the USA.

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The home where Martin Luther King’s family were bombed



This is the thirteenth of my posts based on a recent tour of the eastern half of the USA. I visited a number of sites relevant to African American history. To mark Black History Month, I am relating some of the things I saw, in the order I saw them.

In Montgomery, Alabama I visited the Dexter Parsonage Museum (photo above) – which was the home of Dr Martin Luther King Jr during the Montgomery Bus Boycott (of which more in a latter post). Dr King lived here with his family from 1954 to 1960. It is preserved with the furnishings and household things as per that period.

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Splendid memorial to Dr Martin Luther King Junior in Washington DC

This is the tenth of my posts based on a recent tour of the eastern half of the USA. I visited a number of sites relevant to African American history. To mark Black History Month, I am relating some of the things I saw, in the order I saw them.

In Washington DC, I was lucky enough to stay in a neighbourhood where the people were extremely friendly and welcoming. But it is true that the centre of “DC”, as it is almost universally called in the States, is odd. It consists of virtually all federal buildings of some sort or another, plus a lot of monuments. In fact there are so many monuments that, after a couple of days, I had definitely reached “peak monument”.

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‘I have a dream’ speech on Radio 4

martin-luther-king-jrThis Wednesday the BBC will be marking the 50th Anniversary of  the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s  ‘I have a dream’ speech’ with a special programme at 9am on Radio 4.

The entire speech will be read by 19 well-known human rights activists, including Maya Angelou, Doreen Lawrence, Mary Robinson, Malala Yousafzai and the Dalai Lama. You can see the full list of readers here.

The programme will be repeated at 2.30pm on BBC World Service, or you can, of course, catch up on i-Player.

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Even Martin Luther King repeated the same message

Plugging away with the same message time after time may sound the obvious way to get your message over, but think how often discussions about what should go in a leaflet revolve around coming up with new things to say – or how when you look through the collection of leaflets from a campaign some people complain, “But they all said the same thing!”.

So let’s look at Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech: an amazing piece of oratory and, surely, if you can utter such moving words, you don’t need to repeat them time and again? Well, no …

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