The Story Behind the Dream

The Story Behind the DreamKing: Five score years ago… Cline: Many of us know even verbatim Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech from the March on Washington in 1963. What many of us don’t know is that there was a man named Clarence Jones who wrote the first draft of that speech. King: This momentous decree came…Oral histories can often give us insights into the stories behind the versions of history we learn at school and from the media. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the PlanetCline: Clarence Jones was an assistant to King. As he often did, he wrote the first draft of the speech that King was later to give.Oral Historian David Cline.Cline: Clarence Jones told the story of how as he was standing in the wings of the stage at the March on Washington, watching Martin Luther King, he saw King shuffle the papers of this speech and begin to read it. And it was word for word how Clarence Jones had written it, which alarmed Jones greatly, because King rewrote every speech. Why was he reading this verbatim? But very soon into the speech, Jones and King and others on the stage heard the singer Mahalia Jackson call out, “Tell them about the dream, Martin. Tell them about the dream”. And Jones watched as King actually shoved those papers to the side of the podium, and went into what we now know as one of the great pieces of rhetoric that we have, which was from his heart.King: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.

The Story Behind the Dream

The surprising backstory of Martin Luther King's most famous speech.
Air Date:01/18/2016
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The Story Behind the DreamKing: Five score years ago... Cline: Many of us know even verbatim Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech from the March on Washington in 1963. What many of us don't know is that there was a man named Clarence Jones who wrote the first draft of that speech. King: This momentous decree came...Oral histories can often give us insights into the stories behind the versions of history we learn at school and from the media. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the PlanetCline: Clarence Jones was an assistant to King. As he often did, he wrote the first draft of the speech that King was later to give.Oral Historian David Cline.Cline: Clarence Jones told the story of how as he was standing in the wings of the stage at the March on Washington, watching Martin Luther King, he saw King shuffle the papers of this speech and begin to read it. And it was word for word how Clarence Jones had written it, which alarmed Jones greatly, because King rewrote every speech. Why was he reading this verbatim? But very soon into the speech, Jones and King and others on the stage heard the singer Mahalia Jackson call out, "Tell them about the dream, Martin. Tell them about the dream". And Jones watched as King actually shoved those papers to the side of the podium, and went into what we now know as one of the great pieces of rhetoric that we have, which was from his heart.King: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.