When Martin Luther took the podium at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, he held a carefully prepared speech, but the words “I have dream” were nowhere to be found in the text.
How King decided to deliver his most memorable phrase is one of the tales you can hear in my interview on Fresh Air today with Clarence Jones, who was a young attorney and advisor to King at the March on Washington.
Jones’ book Behind the Dream, is full of fascinating recollections of the time, including Jones’ sudden decision the morning of the march to copyright King’s remarks. That move established a revenue stream that funds the King center in Atlanta to this day.
You can also hear a portion of my interview recorded last spring with Hampton Sides, whose book Hellhound on his Trail focuses on the last months of King’s life. His book reconstructs the movements and activities of King’s confessed assassin James Earl Ray, intercut with the story of King, the man Ray was stalking.