Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy January 21st



Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.




I have a Dream



The greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial
in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963




I Am Happy To Join With You Today In What Will Go Down In History As
The Greatest Demonstration For Freedom
In The History Of Our Nation.


Five Score Years Ago,
A Great American,


In Whose Symbolic Shadow We Stand Today,
Signed The Emancipation Proclamation.


This Momentous Decree
Came As A Great Beacon Light Of Hope
To Millions Of Negro Slaves
Who Had Been Seared In The Flames Of Withering Injustice.

It Came As A Joyous Daybreak
To End The Long Night Of Their Captivity.
But...










One Hundred Years Later,










The Negro Still Is Not Free.





One Hundred Years Later,
The Life Of The Negro Is Still Sadly Crippled By The Manacles Of Segregation
And The Chains Of Discrimination.

One Hundred Years Later,



The Negro Lives On A Lonely Island Of Poverty
In The Midst Of A Vast Ocean Of Material Prosperity.





One Hundred Years Later,

The Negro Is Still Languishing In The Corners Of American Society
And Finds Himself
An Exile In His Own Land.
So We Have Come Here Today To Dramatize A Shameful Condition.

In A Sense We Have Come To
Our Nation's Capital






To Cash A Check.

When The
Architects Of Our Republic
Wrote The Magnificent Words Of The
Constitution And The Declaration Of Independence,
They Were Signing A Promissory Note To Which Every American Was To Fall Heir.

This Note Was
A Promise




That
All Men,



Yes,

Black Men As Well As White Men,


Would Be Guaranteed The

Unalienable
Rights Of Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Happiness.




It Is Obvious Today That America Has Defaulted On This Promissory Note
Insofar As Her Citizens Of Color Are Concerned.

Instead Of Honoring This Sacred Obligation,
America Has Given The Negro People A Bad Check,


A Check Which Has Come Back Marked "Insufficient Funds."






But We Refuse To Believe


That The Bank Of Justice Is Bankrupt.





We Refuse To Believe
That There Are Insufficient Funds

In The Great Vaults
Of Opportunity Of This Nation.





So We Have Come To Cash This Check

-- A Check That Will Give Us
Upon Demand

The Riches Of Freedom And The Security Of Justice.

We Have Also Come To This Hallowed Spot

To Remind America Of The Fierce Urgency Of Now.

This Is No Time To Engage In The Luxury Of Cooling Off
Or To Take The Tranquilizing Drug Of

Gradualism.


Now Is The Time
To Make Real T h e P r o m i s e s O f
D e m o c r a c y.

Now Is The Time To Rise From The Dark And Desolate ValleyOf Segregation To The Sunlit Path Of Racial Justice.


Now Is The Time To Lift Our Nation From The Quick Sands Of Racial Injustice
To The Solid Rock Of Brotherhood.
Now Is The Time To Make Justice A Reality For All Of God's Children.
It Would Be Fatal For The Nation To Overlook The Urgency Of The Moment.


This Sweltering Summer Of The Negro's Legitimate Discontent Will Not Pass
Until There Is An Invigorating Autumn Of Freedom And Equality.




1963

Is Not An End,


But A Beginning.
Those Who Hope That The Negro Needed To Blow Off Steam And Will Now Be Content
Will Have A Rude Awakening If The Nation Returns To Business As Usual.

There Will Be Neither Rest Nor Tranquility In America
Until The Negro Is Granted His Citizenship Rights.


The Whirlwinds Of Revolt Will Continue To Shake The Foundations Of Our NationUntil The Bright Day Of Justice Emerges.


But There Is Something That I Must SayTo My People
Who Stand On
The Warm Threshold
Which Leads Into The Palace Of Justice.

In The Process Of Gaining Our Rightful Place
We Must Not Be Guilty Of Wrongful Deeds.
Let Us Not Seek To Satisfy Our Thirst For Freedom
By Drinking FromThe Cup Of Bitterness And Hatred.

We 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 CommunityMust 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.
And As We Walk,
We Must Make The PledgeThat We Shall March Ahead.







We Cannot Turn Back.
There Are Those Who Are Asking The Devotees Of Civil Rights,
"When Will You Be Satisfied?"We Can Never Be Satisfied As Long As The Negro Is The Victim
Of The Unspeakable Horrors Of Police Brutality.
We Can Never Be Satisfied,
As Long As Our Bodies, Heavy With The Fatigue Of Travel,Cannot Gain Lodging In The Motels Of The Highways And The Hotels Of The Cities.
We Can Never Be Satisfied As Long As A Negro In Mississippi Cannot Vote And A Negro In New York Believes He Has Nothing For Which To Vote.

No, No, We Are Not Satisfied,And We Will Not Be Satisfied
Until Justice Rolls Down Like Waters And Righteousness Like A Mighty Stream.


I Am Not Unmindful
That Some Of You
Have Come HereOut Of Great Trials And Tribulations.
Some Of You Have Come Fresh From Narrow Jail Cells.Some Of You Have Come From Areas Where Your Quest For Freedom
Left You Battered By The Storms Of Persecution And StaggeredBy The Winds Of Police Brutality.

You Have Been The Veterans
Of Creative Suffering. Continue
To Work With The Faith That Unearned Suffering Is Redemptive.
Go Back To Mississippi,
Go Back To Alabama,Go Back To South Carolina,
Go Back To Georgia,
Go Back To Louisiana,
Go Back To The Slums
And Ghettos Of Our Northern Cities,

Knowing That Somehow This Situation Can And Will Be Changed.
Let Us Not Wallow In The Valley Of Despair.
I Say To You Today, My Friends,
So Even Though We Face The Difficulties Of Today And Tomorrow,




I Still Have A Dream.
It Is A Dream Deeply Rooted In
The American Dream.

I Have A Dream That One Day This Nation
Will Rise Up And Live Out The True Meaning Of Its Creed:
"We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident: That All Men Are Created Equal."
I Have A Dream That One Day On The Red Hills Of Georgia
The Sons Of Former Slaves And The Sons Of Former Slave Owners
Will Be Able To Sit Down TogetherAt The Table Of Brotherhood.

I Have A Dream That One Day
Even The State Of Mississippi,
A StateSweltering With The Heat Of Injustice,
Sweltering With The Heat Of Oppression,
Will Be Transformed Into An Oasis Of Freedom And Justice.

I Have A Dream That My 4 Little Children
Will One Day Live In A Nation Where

They Will Not Be Judged By The Color Of Their Skin
But By The Content Of Their Character.

I Have A Dream Today!
I Have A DreamThat One Day,Down In Alabama,
With Its Vicious Racists,With Its Governor Having His Lips
Dripping With The Words Of
Interposition And Nullification;

One Day
Right There In Alabama,
Little Black Boys And Black Girls
Will Be Able To Join Hands With
Little White Boys And White Girls
As Sisters And Brothers.
I Have A Dream Today!
I Have A DreamThat One Day Every Valley Shall Be Exalted,Every Hill And Mountain Shall Be Made Low,
The Rough Places Will Be Made Plain,
And The Crooked Places Will Be Made Straight,
And The Glory Of The Lord Shall Be Revealed,
And All Flesh Shall See It Together.
This Is Our Hope. This Is The Faith That I Go Back To The South With.
With This Faith We Will Be Able To Hew
Out Of The Mountain Of Despair
A Stone Of Hope.

With This Faith We Will Be Able To TransformThe Jangling DiscordsOf Our Nation
Into A Beautiful Symphony Of Brotherhood.

With This Faith We WillBe AbleTo Work TogetherTo Pray TogetherTo Struggle TogetherTo Go To Jail Together
To Stand Up For Freedom Together
Knowing That We Will Be Free One Day.This Will Be The Day When All Of God's Children


Will Be Able To Sing With A New Meaning,

"My Country, 'Tis Of Thee, Sweet Land Of Liberty,
Of Thee I Sing.
Land Where My Fathers Died, Land Of The Pilgrim's Pride,
F r o m E v e r y Mountainside,
Let Freedom Ring."
And If America Is To Be A Great Nation This Must Become True.
So Let Freedom Ring
From The Prodigious Hilltops Of New Hampshire.
Let Freedom Ring From The Mighty Mountains Of New York.
Let Freedom Ring From The Heightening Alleghenies Of Pennsylvania!
Let Freedom Ring From The Snowcapped Rockies Of Colorado!
Let Freedom Ring From The Curvaceous Slopes Of California!


But Not Only That; Let Freedom Ring From Stone Mountain Of Georgia!
Let Freedom Ring From Lookout Mountain Of Tennessee!
Let Freedom Ring From Every Hill And Molehill Of Mississippi.


From Every Mountainside, Let Freedom Ring.

And When This Happens,


When We Allow Freedom To Ring,


When We Let It Ring From Every Village And Every Hamlet,
From Every State And Every City,We Will Be Able To Speed Up That Day When All Of God's Children,



Black Men



And





White Men,


JewsAnd Gentiles,
Protestants And Catholics,
Will Be Able To Join Hands And Sing In The Words Of The Old Negro Spiritual,

"Free At Last! Free At Last! Thank God Almighty,We Are Free At Last!"


It's a great message,and still pretty relevant,even in our day.
Thanks To Dr King, and the good works he did.
W.

4 comments:

Sarah said...

Thank you, Warnser. Thank you.

warnser said...

You're totally welcome.
thanks for being here,
I know it sounds odd,
but it doesn't matter what you say,
(nearly as much)
if nobody's there to here it.

This is one of those parts of history that is so often remembered, but rarely explored, or even read, so I thought I would add it to my 'Web Wonders'
Thanks for your comment!

julie said...

You know, it's been a super-long time since I read this speech, so I'm glad you posted it. It really is as powerful today as it was when he gave it. Thank you!

warnser said...

Yeah it was way good.