Google+

The Speech

 

The Story behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream

by Gary Younge

Haymarket Books

Paperback, $19.95

192 pages

ISBN: 978-1-60846-356-5

Book Review by Kam Williams

 

41hUU4qzhOL“A great speech is both timely and timeless. First and foremost, it must touch and move its immediate audience… But it must also simultaneously reach over the heads of the assembled to posterity.

The ‘I Have a Dream’ speech qualified on both counts. It was delivered in a year that started with Alabama Governor George Wallace, standing on the steps of the state capitol, declaring ‘Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!’

The speech starts, both literally and metaphorically, in the shadow of Lincoln, ends with a quote from a Negro spiritual, and in between quotes the song ‘America the Beautiful’ while evoking ‘a dream rooted in the American dream’ and drawing references from the bible and Constitution…

Fifty years later, the speech endures as a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement… This gripping book unearths the fascinating chronicle behind ‘The speech’ and the revealing events surrounding The March on Washington.”

— Excerpted from Introduction

 

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, an unapologetically poetic appeal for the elusive equal rights long denied African-Americans. Unfortunately, over the years, the late martyr’s historic address has all but been reduced to his wish that “my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

A half-century later we find that “content of character” phrase being appropriated, quoted out of context and willfully misrepresented by arch-conservatives from Glenn Beck to Herman Cain in service of a right-wing agenda. For this reason, it is rather refreshing to find an opus like this being published on the 50th anniversary to remind us of the true meaning of Dr. King’s moving remarks.

The author of the book is Gary Younge, a broadcaster and columnist based in Chicago. Here, the award-winning journalist does a masterful job of not only dissecting Dr. King’s words, but of filling in much of the back story to the events leading up to his taking the podium.

We learn that “I Have a Dream” was not the planned focus of the speech, in fact, that divinely-inspired, emotional crescendo was substantially improvised on the spot as an afterthought. King’s intended theme merely revolved around an earnest explanation that blacks had descended on the District of Columbia “to cash a promissory note for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

For, while preparing his speech on the eve of the march, King had been advised by a colleague to cut out the lines about his having a dream. “It’s trite… It’s cliché,” Reverend Wyatt Tee Walker warned.

But, the next day on the National Mall, as Dr. King came close to finishing reading from his prepared text, gospel great Mahalia Jackson started prompting him to go off script. “Tell them about the dream, Martin!” she shouted repeatedly, referring to a familiar refrain she’d heard her dear friend eloquently riff about in sermons several times before.

Fortunately, Martin did indeed heed Mahalia, and began waxing romantic about his prophetic vision. “Aw, sh*t, he’s using the dream,” Reverend Walker moaned. Yet, as Coretta Scott King would recall, “At that moment, it seemed as if the Kingdom of God appeared.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

 

To order a copy of The Speech, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1608463222/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source: Baret News Wire

Entertainment

Blake Lively Shines as Surfer Stranded in Shark-Infested Waters

  The Shallows Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams Blake Lively Shines as Surfer Stranded in Shark-Infested Waters Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) was so shaken by her mother's (Janelle Bailey) untimely death that she's dropped out of med school. In order to feel closer to her dearly departed mom, she's decided to vacation at the same exotic Mexican retreat where she was reportedly conceived back in 1991. An avid surfer, she also plans to search … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

More Than a Score

  ACRONYM TO FOLLOW by Peter Brav   Finally Our Day has come There’s a Day for everything For doughnuts, siblings, eight track tapes Grilled cheese, daughters and sons to work Encouragement, Alzheimer’s Coffee, math, chewing gum Blasphemy, yo-yos And now finally One for us Truly a Day to celebrate National Don’t Shoot An Unarmed Brother Doctor King Not Seeing Progress George Orwell Laughing It Is So About the … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

New Home Sales Jump in April

  New Home Sales Jump in April By Burt Carey Sales of new homes hit their highest rate since 2008 in April, according to the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau. April sales increased 16.6 percent over March figures, which correlates to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000 home sales projected for the year. The median price of those new homes was $321,000, the highest median price ever recorded. That’s up 9.7 percent … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

230 LXF from Tidewater Packs A Punch in a Small Package

  230 LXF from Tidewater Packs A Punch in a Small Package By Ted Lund Are you looking for a family-friendly center console that’s got the luxury of a larger boat in a smaller package? Then look no further than the 230 LXF from Tidewater. The 23-foot, center console has the same features as the rest its large LXF brothers, including comfortable full upholstery, stainless steel cup holders. And a newly-designed console with glove box and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

There Are Superheroes Among Us

  There Are Superheroes Among Us by Amy Lignor   This story truly proves that a superhero does not require a cape, tights, or the ability to fly. In a world where all headlines seem to be centered around who shot who, who is being put upon, who’s “getting away with it” – all the way to who is getting divorced and who may or may not be kneeling at NFL games – negative stories seem to be the only ones covered anymore by the media. … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Scholastic Announces Sales of More Than 3.3 Million Copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

  Scholastic Announces Sales of More Than 3.3 Million Copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two New York, NY (August 10, 2016) — Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two script book, the eighth Harry Potter story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne, published in the U.S. and Canada by Scholastic has sold more than 3.3 million copies in North America to date.Scholastic announced a first printing … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Vacation Time Has Turned “Spooky”

  Vacation Time Has Turned “Spooky” by Amy Lignor   Myths and legends, both spooky and surreal, are becoming the subject of many books and newspaper articles lately. And the location of many, oddly enough, happen to be in the Southwest. It used to be that a nice white sandy beach was the one place we yearned to go on vacation to get away from it all. Now, however, people are searching for places to travel where legends still exist, and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Doing Our Part

  Doing Our Part by Amy Lignor   There are books being published as of late – wonderful books telling the stories of amazing wildlife rescues, as well as neighborhoods and communities across the U.S. that have taken on projects to save the wildlife in their own surrounding areas.   We always talk about these “success stories,” yet never actually give information on exactly how these “problems” turned into “victories.” … [Read More its Good for You...]