Linda Maye Adams

MLK’s “I have a dream” improvised


The 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech is this week, and one of the things that I had heard on the radio this morning was that the most famous part was improvised.

Maybe it’s the most powerful because the best comes out of us when we don’t try to “fix it.”

I’m Washington, DC, the land of preparation and committee.  Every politician has a speech writer come up with a speech and then a committee hashes out all the wording to make sure that nothing in there is going to end up a sound byte for the opposition (which doesn’t always work).  The result is that a lot of the speeches don’t really say much, and when the politicians do improvise, they often get themselves into trouble because they don’t know how to talk off script.

Any part of a speech can go viral in seconds and get reactions.  Sometimes that’s pulled out of context in such a way it changes the meaning, and there’s not a lot that can be done.  So it all feeds into speeches that say a lot without saying much of anything.

Will we have to another speech that resonates like MLK’s “I have a dream”?  Or has the internet destroyed this possibility?  

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