In celebration of Black History Month, the fourth and fifth grade students at Bailey Intermediate in the North Lamar Independent School District heard Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in its entirety during their lunch time.
Alvis Dunlap, principal of B. McDaniel Intermediate School in Denison, Texas, was invited to deliver the speech by his former student, Taylor Bland. Bland is currently a student teacher in Toni Preston’s fifth grade social studies and reading class at Bailey.
“Mr. Dunlap presented the speech to our class when I was in middle school, and it had a lasting impact on me,” said Bland. “I wanted our students to have that same experience.”
Dunlap began teaching in 1984 at Travis Junior High in Paris. His history class that year was the first to hear him present a portion of King’s speech. Now he presents it in its entirety to audiences if time permits.
“Since that first year, I’ve probably presented Martin Luther King’s speech over 1,000 times,” said Dunlap. When asked by a student if he had the speech memorized, he chuckled and said he knows most of it but always has a copy for good measure.