"If I Can Dream" is a song written by Walter Earl Brown and notable for its direct quotations of Martin Luther King, Jr. It was recorded by Presley in June 1968, two months after King's assassination. The recording was first released to the public as the finale of Presley's '68 Comeback Special.
Although the song is not technically gospel music, Presley performed the song with the intensity and intonations of southern gospel.
Brown was asked to write a song to replace "I'll Be Home For Christmas" as the grand finale on NBC's "Elvis" (June 20–23, 1968). He wrote "If I Can Dream," and when Presley heard it he proclaimed "I'm never going to sing another song I don't believe in. I'm never going to make another picture I don't believe in."
Steve Binder, who produced Presley’s 1968 television comeback special, recalled the origin of Presley’s hit “If I Can Dream.” Presley and Binder were looking for a way to end the show. The two had discussed Elvis’ dismay over the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Binder was struck by the conversation and ordered W. Earl Brown, a songwriter working on the show, to come up with a song incorporating Presley’s concern to use as the finale to the show. So even though Presley did not write the song, his viewpoint was expressed in its composition."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_I_Can_Dream
"I Have a Dream" is a 17-minute public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963, in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. The speech, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. Delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters, the speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address.According to U.S. Representative John Lewis, who also spoke that day as the President of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, "Dr. King had the power, the ability, and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a monumental area that will forever be recognized. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations."
At the end of the speech, King departed from his prepared text for a partly improvised peroration on the theme of "I have a dream", possibly prompted by Mahalia Jackson's cry, "Tell them about the dream, Martin!" He had first delivered a speech incorporating some of the same sections in Detroit in June 1963, when he marched on Woodward Avenue with Walter Reuther and the Reverend C. L. Franklin, and had rehearsed other parts.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Have_a_Dream
The Full Text of Dr Martin Luther King's Speech
"must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone." (Read the full text here - http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/martin-luther-kings-speech-dream-full-text/story?id=14358231&page=2#.T2evWcUaP30
The Writer - Walter Earl Brown
"Walter Earl Brown was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on Christmas Day, 1928 to Walter Lincoln Brown, a descendant of the english royal family and Hattie Earl. Earl's father, Walter played in a "swing" big band so as a child Earl traveled with his parents.... Earl had a prolific and illustrious career in show business as a singer, composer, vocal arranger, and writer of special material. His work in television, films, revues, musical recordings and nightclubs began at an early age and continued until his passing. During the 40's and 50's Earl is remembered for having been the arranger and singer in the highly acclaimed vocal group "The Skylarks". He wrote a hit song for Elvis Presley in 1968 entitled "If I Can Dream", which has been re-recorded by Barry Manilow and others and which was recently performed on "American Idol" by Celine Dion as a duet, with Elvis resurrected on stage as a holographic image. Earl wrote songs for Dianne Reeves, including the Grammy winning "Who's Minding The Store?", as well as for Frank Sinatra, Mama Cass, Michael Feinstein, and numerous others. For many years he was the vocal director on many hit variety shows including "The Danny Kaye Show", "The Dinah Shore Show", "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour", "The Osmonds Brothers Show", "The Andy Williams Show", "The Carol Burnett Show" and many other television programs and specials. Most recently Earl was the vocal arranger and writer of special material for "The Palm Springs Follies" for the last 13 seasons of the revue." More here http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=24119368