BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. — The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 was unusual among great American speeches in that its most famous words — “I have a dream” — were improvised.
King had certainly thought about using the “dream” refrain in Washington. He had been fine-tuning it earlier that year. In April, in Birmingham, Ala., deputies of the public safety commissioner, Eugene Connor, known as Bull, attended a mass meeting at the 16th Street Baptist Church, where they reported that King “said that he had a dream of seeing little Negro boys and girls walking to school with little white boys and girls, playing in the parks together and going swimming together.”
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