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Origins of the DreamHughes's Poetry and King's Rhetoric$
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W. Jason Miller

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060446

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060446.001.0001

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The March on Washington

The March on Washington

Veiling Hughes’s Poetry

(p.195) 10 The March on Washington
Origins of the Dream

W. Jason Miller

University Press of Florida

This very brief chapter rereads King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963, by indentifying the various allusions made to Hughes’s poetry. Poems such as “I Dream a World,” “Mother to Son,” and “Youth” are sub-merged in this speech to give King’s speech a defiant and subversive quality otherwise ignored by scholarship. Further speculative connections are also offered that move beyond the mere diction that survives in King’s famous address. The March on Washington featured a speech from King that resulted in a level of iconicity where every voice was integrated through allusion. The cultural context of Robert Frost’s appearance at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in the same city two years earlier is also considered as a speculative consideration for why King might have delivered his dream from memory.

Keywords:   “I Dream a World”, “I Have a Dream”, iconicity, March on Washington, “Mother to Son”, Robert Frost, “Youth”

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