New exhibit of King papers sheds light on 'I have a  dream'





A major new exhibition of Martin Luther King's personal papers reveals the years of work that lay behind his "I Have a Dream" speech that has come to symbolize the U.S. civil rights movement.

The exhibition of 600 documents at the Atlanta History Center is the largest display of the papers since they were bought from the King family by an Atlanta consortium on behalf of Morehouse College last June for $32 million.

Displays of speeches and sermons King wrote in longhand and annotated notes on scraps of paper show how he formulated principles of nonviolence as a means to overcome the brutal system of racial segregation that prevailed in the South.

Books that King started reading in the 1950s, making notes in the margins, show how his "dream" evolved. The earliest references he made were to shattered dreams, Elizabeth Muller, the exhibition curator, said on Friday.

"There were 10 years of creation before 'I Have a Dream.' You can see all these threads come together in the speech," she said of the speech that capped the 1963 civil rights march on Washington.

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