4. Many Missed His Actual Speech
He was the last person to speak, so many of the 200,000 people who had attended the day’s march had either already left or were in the process of leaving. After such a long day, organizers urged King to keep the speech to less than five minutes, although he wound up speaking for seventeen minutes.
5. The FBI Started Watching
After hearing the speech, the FBI went on high alert when it came to dealing with King. William Sullivan, head of domestic intelligence for the bureau, said, “In the light of King’s powerful, demagogic speech… he stands head and shoulders over all other Negro leaders put together when it comes to influencing great masses. We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”
The fact that FBI wiretapped King and collected evidence in order to discredit the man as a communist for the rest of his life is a good indication of what kind of frightening, oppressive agency the FBI actually is.
6. King Worried about this Dream
History may remember the speech as leading to swift change, but struggles continue. A couple of years later, King was no longer as optimistic about his “dream”, saying, “So often in these past two years I have had to watch my dream transformed into a nightmare. I have felt my dream falter as I have traveled through the rat-infested slums of our big city ghettos and watched our jobless and hopeless poor sweltering in an air-tight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society.”
7. Sharing the Speech Will Cost You
Despite the fact that the speech is now iconic, it is not part of the public domain. In a 1999 court case, the King family won copyright rights to the speech. For that reason, it can be difficult to track down copies of “I Have a Dream” or teach it in schools since it’s going to cost money. USA Today learned that the hard way when it posted a large excerpt of the speech and was charged a $1,700 licensing fee.
Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Photo Credit: USMC, Photo Credit: Dick DeMarsico, Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Photo Credit: USMC, Photo Credit: Cecil Stoughton, Photo Credit: Marion Trikosko, Photo Credit: Athena LeTrelle via Flickr
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