A Speech Written for a Nation

by Kimberly Dawson, producer

Undoubtedly, the “ I Have A Dream” speech is owned by the man who presented it to our country. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. read those eloquent words in the shadow of the American who gave us the emancipation proclamation. Was this an accident? A coincidence? Nonetheless, this moment at President Lincoln’s monument is enshrined in our national memory. And, it was a collective effort. This interview begins our series on the civil rights movment called  Deeply Rooted: Commemorating the Civil Rights Movement.

We call them the Big Six: James Farmer, John Lewis, A. Phillip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, and Martin Luther King Jr. Each of these men shaped the civil rights movement into a portrait of solidarity and change for our country. They were Dr. King’s closest compatriots, brothers who shared in the red, white, and blue fraternity of action. They were leaders of the labor movement, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Congress on Racial Equality, National Urban League, but more importantly, they were political actors who collectively advanced American civil rights.

We’re joined today by his friend and fellow writer, Clarence B. Jones. Jones traveled with Dr. King’s inner circle. They shared ideas, thoughts, plans, all of which contributed to the now famous “ I Have A Dream” speech. Jones shares his thoughts about their relationship, the comical disagreements and inside jokes, and the moments that created our nations ” I have a dream” speech.

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