For a generation of Americans, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech changed their lives. It represented a call to action for the civil rights movement and facilitated decades of change. Clarence B. Jones, former speechwriter for King, joined the Brennan Center’s Frederick A.O (Fritz) Schwarz, Jr. on Wednesday to discuss Jones’ new book, Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation.
Behind the Dream is an insider’s account of the creation of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The book dramatizes the weeks leading up to the event — “the government paranoia, the clashing egos, and the last-minute legal-pad brainstorming — as the Movement battled the clock to bring the impossibly complicated March on Washington to life.”
Clarence B. Jones was Dr. King’s advisor and close friend, and helped craft the speech. He is currently a scholar-in-residence and visiting professor at Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. Selected by Time magazine in 1972 as one of the “100 Future Leaders of America,” and twice recognized in Fortune magazine as a “Businessman of the Month,” Jones has received numerous state and national awards recognizing his significant contribution to American society.
Frederick A.O. (Fritz) Schwarz, Jr. is Chief Counsel of the Brennan Center for Justice. From 1975–76, he served as Chief Counsel to the Church Committee, the U.S. Senate committee investigating intelligence agencies. And from 1964 to 1975, he served with Clarence Jones on the American Committee on Africa, the leading anti-apartheid group in the U.S.