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Taylor Branch Remembers the March
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August 27, 2013
Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch wrote an essay about the speech's significance in USA Weekend. He's the author of The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement.
Branch describes how King had given another speech at the Lincoln Memorial, in 1957, called “Give Us the Ballot." It didn't go over that well. And when he was delivering this speech, he felt that he didn't have the crowd with him.
So, he went off script and said this, instead of his carefully written speech:
“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
Taylor Branch describes how the last two-thirds of the speech, the first refrain being "I have a dream."
Meanwhile, in Annapolis, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Committee, Inc. will unveil the nation’s first memorial to the 250,000 “foot soldiers” of the March – the ordinary citizens who risked the threat of personal harm to magnify the impact of the words of the civil rights leaders who spoke that day.
The unveiling of the memorial is open to the public--it's at 10 a.m. in Annapolis’ Whitmore Park on the corner of Clay and Cavert Streets, the site of a bus depot from which Annapolis residents traveled to the March. Learn more on their Facebook page.
We also want to hear from you about YOUR experience of the March on Washington. Were you or your family there? As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of that march, WYPR wants to hear your memories. Email your stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.