Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech took place on Aug. 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The large crowd of civil rights marchers in attendance were in the nation's capital for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Martin Luther King actually improvised much of what has become this famous civil rights address. He appeared to be reading his speech up to a point, and then he stopped for a moment. Mahalia Jackson said to him, "Tell 'em about the dream." At that point, King seemed to abandon his written notes and began speaking extemporaneously. The repetitive words "I have a dream" were part of the improvised portion of the speech.