250,000 faces upturned, awaiting his words, their sighs hushed.
He shuffles pages of a speech composed by committee, something for everyone, and begins reading. Each of us leans forward for nourishment, vying to be there first. Scattered cheers ripple up and sink again into a murmuring ocean.
‘Tell them,’ improvises Mahalia Jackson. His gaze drifts from the wordy text to linger on the crowd, as if to draw them closer.
‘Riff,’ I whisper.
Has he heard? Eyes deep as oceans, he dives down for sunken treasure and surfaces holding pearls.
‘I say to you today, my friends, I have a dream … ‘