It is often said that the winners write the history books. In this case, key elements of Dr. King’s demands for satisfaction came to pass very quickly and did not have to wait upon ‘gradualism’. Segregation laws were abolished. Universal suffrage became a reality. Police brutality was severely curtailed. If Dr. King had been shot and those sharing his dream disbursed, the speech would have been forgotten along with his dreams. One key area that Dr. King demanded as a key point that seems to have been ignored though was his concluding demand from Amos 5:24 that ‘righteousness (rolls down) like a might stream’. It seems to be a more distant dream now than in 1963. In spite of that failure to bring about righteousness, the fact that his speech did play a part in bringing about real change for most of his demands of justice is foundational in it being considered one of the greatest speeches of all time. Mark Sanborn quoted in Servant Empowered Leadership (Page, p. 162) sums up what an effective communicator needs to do: “to create through his or her communication a cascading vision that flows outward to energize everyone in the organization.” History shows that his speech did in fact accomplish that. Simply put, it worked.
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...drew from the master communicator, the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself said he came to set the captives frees. By following the clear truths of God’s desire that all the captives be set free from injustice I believe the Holy Spirit inspired King as he wrote. God desired that justice come, and he used King as a part in bringing that about. I pray that one day King’s dream of seeing righteousness rolling down into America may also one day be fulfilled.
King’s speech was truly great because history proved its value. The technical elements of the entire speech from opening statements to closing vision were masterfully crafted. It also had the full weight of the passion of God for justice to roll down like rivers behind it. These three combined ensure that Kings “I have a dream” speech will continue to be heralded as one of history’s greatest speeches of all time.
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