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This Day in History : Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" Speech.

By Jennifer P on Aug 28, 2014 8:37 AM
Image from the National Archives

On August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. gave what is arguably one of the most famous American speeches at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The most memorable part of that speech was not a written part of the final draft. King had used the "I Have a Dream" phrase in earlier speeches, including one at Cobo Hall in Detroit several months earlier. King began speaking extemporaneously, using parts of previous speeches, after gospel singer Mahalia Jackson encouraged him to "Tell them about the dream, Martin!" towards the end of his prepared text. With the speech being broadcast to a broad TV and radio audience, it quickly entered the public consciousness.

In 1999, the "I Have a Dream" speech was ranked as the top political speech of the 20th century in a poll by the University of Wisconsin in Madison. A full transcript of the speech is available online at the United States government archives. You can also check out audio recordings of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous speeches, or a DVD containing the footage of the "I Have a Dream" speech, along with several other great speeches.



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