Journalist to discuss context of ‘I Have a Dream’ speech
8/23/2013, 6 a.m.
DECATUR British author, broadcaster and journalist Gary Younge will give local listeners an inside look at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 29 at First Baptist Church of Decatur.
The speech was delivered by the late civil rights leader 50 years ago on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Younge, who is an award-winning columnist for The Guardian, will discuss his latest work, “The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream,” at 7 p.m.
The two-hour anniversary event, which is sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book, will be held at the church at 308 Clairemont Ave.
King delivered the speech on Aug. 28, 1963, before more than 250,000 civil rights supporters. In 17 minutes and 1,700 words, King called for an end to racism in America in what would later become a defining moment of the civil rights movement.
In his book, Younge, who also writes a monthly column for the Nation magazine and is the Alfred Knobler Fellow for the Nation Institute, examines the significance of “I Have a Dream” in the United States and abroad. He defines the context of the speech and explores the factors that determine how and why speeches are remembered.
The year 1963 was tumultuous, starting with Alabama Gov. George Wallace declaring eternal segregation in the South and ending with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Younge details the long, sleepless night of preparation, the dramatic moment when King turned over his prepared speech and delivered remarks from his heart, using the phrase many had advised against, warning that it was trite and overused.
Despite its lukewarm reception at the time, “I Have a Dream” has resounded throughout the world as an appeal for equality and freedom.
For more information, call 404-370-8450, Ext. 2225.