Press Release

New Book, Discussion on Aug. 26 for 50th Anniversary of MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

CHICAGO, IL- August 13, 2013— The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will be recognizing the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” speech with author and award-winning journalist Gary Younge discussing his new book, The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream on Monday, August 26, 2013 at the Chicago Cultural Center. 

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his powerful speech on August 28, 1963; fifty years later, the speech endures as a defining moment in the civil rights movement, heralded as a beacon in the ongoing struggle for racial equality. What many may not be aware of was his intense preparation, that he was advised against sharing his dream,  and that he abandoned his prepared remarks midway to deliver “The Speech”. This story, told through first-hand accounts from King’s speechwriter and many more civil rights leaders, unearths the fascinating chronicle behind “The Speech” and the revealing events surrounding the March on Washington.    

Younge will discuss the book, followed by a panel of leaders of diverse ages, sharing their thoughts on the legacy and impact of MLK’s speech on their generation. 

The program is being produced in partnership with Chicago Freedom School and Haymarket Books, who are also the publishers of the book. 

Gary Younge is an author, broadcaster and award-winning columnist for The Guardian, based in Chicago. He also writes a monthly column, Beneath the Radar, for The Nation magazine and is the Alfred Knobler Fellow for The Nation Institute. His other three books include, Who Are We?, And Should it Matter in the 21st century, Stranger in a Strange Land, Travels in the Disunited States and No Place Like Home, A Black Briton’s Journey Through the Deep South. Gary has made several radio and television documentaries on subjects ranging from the tea party to hip hop culture. 

Panelists include: 

Toussaint Losier, organizer with the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign and a doctoral candidate in the History Department at the University of Chicago. 

Salim Muwakkil, Chicago writer & radio host. 

Amisha Patel, Executive Director, the Grassroots Collaborative. 

Jessica Rodriguez, Youth activist, Chicago Freedom School. 

The event is part of the IHC’s program, The Public Square, which fosters debate, dialogue, and exchange of ideas about cultural, social, and political issues with an emphasis on social justice. 

The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream, will take place Monday, August 26, 2013, 6-9pm at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall (78 East Washington Street) in Chicago. The event is free to the public, though reservations are required and can be made by emailing to, or visiting the IHC website, For more information on the event, please contact Alice Kim, Director of The Public Square, at (312) 422-5580, x238. 

About the Illinois Humanities Council 

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds. 

Media Contact:
Carlos Velázquez
(312) 422-5580, x233