After 50 years, King’s ‘Dream’ lives on

In 17 minutes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words helped change the course of civil rights forever, and they continue to inspire social progress today.

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The daylong demonstration is credited for significantly progressing the nation’s civil rights movement, but 17 minutes in particular would live on in oratorical history.

That’s how long it took Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech, which didn’t originally have that title. It was first called “Normalcy—Never Again,” but King ad-libbed heavily when the audience responded vocally to that key phrase.

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