The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Even at 15, King was a visionary: By John Llewellyn. As we honor the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with the dedication of his National Memorial sometime in the next few weeks, the legendary “I Have a Dream” speech still echoes across the country. This week, schoolchildren across the country will recite some of the most memorable refrains from the 1963 speech, delivered when the civil rights leader was just 34 years old. What most Americans do not realize, however, is that King’s speech was based on a teenage dream — one first articulated when he was just a 15-year-old in the Jim Crow South. Despite extensive scholarly study of King’s life and writings, Wake Forest University student William Murphy recently became the first to identify the striking parallels between King’s legendary 1963 “Dream” speech and an address he delivered in 1944 as a high school student in Georgia.

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