A Student’s Discovery About MLK, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

In 1944 when he was just fifteen years old, Martin Luther King, Jr wrote a speech called “The Negro and the Constitution.”  Its existence was known, but no one had compared that early piece of writing to the famous “I Have a Dream” speech until two years ago.  A freshman at Wake Forest University, William Murphy, discovered during his class assignment that King’s Dream speech delivered on August 28, 1963 had roots in a high school speech the civil rights leader delivered almost twenty years earlier.  It’s interesting how the structure and themes are so similar between the 1944 and 1963 versions – MLK, Jr. had a clear vision for the civil rights movement early on.  African Americans must renounce hatred and embrace “brotherly love.” John Llewellyn is an Associate Professor of Communication at Wake Forest University who taught that freshman class.  He talks about the two speeches and their significance to the Civil Rights Movement.

 

You can read both versions of the speeches, and the analysis of them written by Professor Llewellyn and William Murphy here: http://news.wfu.edu/2011/08/11/tracing-the-roots-of-the-dream/.