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Prathia Hall

54th Anniversary of “I Have A Dream Speech”

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

August 28, 2017 marks the 54th anniversary of the historic “I Have A Dream Speech” given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, in Washington, DC during the March on Washington.  More than 200,000 flooded the capital for the historic speech.  Below are some little known facts about the March that you may not know.

  • The March on Washington along with the speech given by Dr. King was said to pressure President Kennedy to approve federal civil rights legislation in Congress.
  • Dr. King was not the “originator” of the “I have a dream” language contained in his speech. It is likely that this language was first used by then 22 year old Prathia Hall after the burning of the Mount Olive Baptist Church in 1962.  King had preached at a church service following the bombing.  Prathia Hall prayed during the service.  During her prayer she shared the “I have a dream” language.  Check out our previous Black Mail post for more information on Prathia Hall.  https://wordpress.com/post/blackmail4u.com/169
  • Originally, the speech was entitled, “Normalcy – Never Again” and did not contain any “I have a dream” wording. Dr. King was encouraged by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson who whispered to him during the speech, “Tell ‘em about the dream Martin.  Tell em’ about the dream.“
  • Dr. King was the last speaker of the day. Many of the march participants, had already left to return to their homes and missed the historic speech.
  • William Sullivan, head of the FBI’s domestic intelligence division wrote a memo after the speech labeling Dr. King “as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”
  • King’s speech, initially did not get much attention in the media. The march itself received most of the media attention.  By the time of King’s death in 1968, the speech, had been largely forgotten.
  • Dr. King first shared, “I have a dream” during a speech in Detroit two months before the March on Washington. Several of his staffers actually tried to discourage him from using the language again.

Check out a video excerpt of the speech:

Source(s):

Blackmail4u.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I47Y6VHc3Ms&feature=yout

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/08/i-have-a-dream-speech-facts-trivia.html

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/28/us/mlk-i-have-a-dream-9-things/index.html

Prathia Hall: Where MLK First Heard “I Have A Dream”

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

prathia hall 2
Prathia Hall

In 1962 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was visiting Terrell County, Georgia to speak at Mt. Olive Baptist Church. The church had recently been burned down by the Klu Klux Klan. As part of the service Prathia Hall, a young college student, who was volunteer with SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) was invited to pray. Hall was the daughter of Rev. Berkeley Hall, a Baptist minister and was known for her oratory skills. Through her prayer, she shared her personal vision of what she hoped for the future of Black Americans. In her prayer, she used the phrase, “I Have A Dream” many times. Dr. King was very impressed with Prathia’s prayer. In particular, he admired her use of the phrase, “I Have A Dream”. As ministers often do, King would later incorporate “I Have A Dream” into some of his own speeches. By late 1962, the phrase was reported to have been a regular part of King’s sermons. The phrase also became popular due to its use during 2 historic 1963 civil rights marches by Dr. King; “Walk To Freedom” march in Detroit and the “March on Washington” in Washington DC.

Prathia Hill grew up in Philadelphia. Her father, Reverend Berkeley Hall, was a passionate advocate for racial justice. She left her college studies at Temple University to join other college students who were traveling to the south to advocate for civil rights there. Prathia was active in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She eventually became one its first women field leaders in southwest Georgia. Prathia would later go on to become a preacher, and pastor. After her father’s death, Prathia accepted the call of Mount Sharon Baptist Church in Philadelphia to come and pastor the church her father once pastored. Prathia later enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary and received a Ph.D in ethics. Prathia Hall died on August 12, 2002, following a long illness.

Of Prathia Hill, Dr. King is quoted as saying, “Prathia Hall is the one platform speaker I would prefer not to follow”.

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