Today would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 94th birthday and tomorrow is the national holiday created in his honor. King’s tragically short but profound life changed America. If you ask people what they remember most about him aside from his assassination, most will say his “I have a dream” speech at the historic March on Washington in 1963. This address clearly marks a turning point in the civil rights movement.

But had Dr. King actually delivered the speech he had intended and long labored over, “I have a dream” would not be the iconic phrase it is today.

Vistage Speaker, Chair and Business Historian Greg Bustin shares the little-known story of how Dr. King might never have uttered “I have a dream” but for an impromptu suggestion by someone not even on his staff just before he began his address.

History is often a near thing. It’s remarkable (and more than a little scary) how often an unplanned or unexpected event, often appearing in the moment as minor or insignificant, makes unexpected history.   

Take time for Mr. Bustin’s one page recounting of “Why Dr. King’s historic speech was almost never delivered.”

Note:  The above story is one of many from Mr. Bustin’s excellent book “How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices.” This book contains 52 very short chapters designed to be read one per week (2 to 3 pages per chapters) profiling great (and not so great) leaders through history and the decisions they made that affect us to this day. This book should be on every thoughtful businessperson’s desk or their bedside).