Monday, January 17, 2011

"I Have a Dream" speechwriter shares tales of famous speech

Attorney Clarence Jones, who helped to write Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famed "I Have a Dream" speech, has written a new book, Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation. In this interview with NPR's Fresh Air, Jones shares some of the behind-the-scenes stories leading to King's iconic speech.

Among them is the story of how the order of speakers that day was determined.  King wanted to speak last to conclude the program, but didn't want to say so. In negotiating with the many groups' representatives involved in the planning, Jones merely said, "Do you want to follow Martin Luther King?"  The interview also includes a winning tale of how King used a public sermon to convince Jones to change his mind about helping the civil rights movement, an artful use of a public speech to convince one audience member. (Affiliate link)

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