Life is too short to read a bad book.
Monday, January 15, 2007,9:03 AM
I Have A Dream
I still haven't read anything, but I have a few books that seem to be tempting my muse, so hopefully soon.....

The first time I read this speach was during college. I was sitting at the kitchen table doing homework with my niece and as I read this, I just started crying. Kiddo looked over at me and asked, "Auntie, what's wrong?" I said, "Nothing, honey. It's just my homework." She looked at my stacks on the table and said, "Oh, I know. You have a lot of it!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I Have A Dream
Martin Luther King, Jr.
August 28, 1963
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

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 languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've 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. And so, we've 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 the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands 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. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And 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. And 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 nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to 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 from the 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 community must not lead us to a 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 they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always 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 cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating: "For Whites Only."* We cannot 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 here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by 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.

And 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 together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering 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 four 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 dream that 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 dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and 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, and 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 transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with 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,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!


And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And 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 snow-capped 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 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, Jews and 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!

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posted by Dev | Permalink |


9 Comments:


  • At 4:05 PM, Blogger Bookwormom

    Hopefully one day these things might happen.

     
  • At 10:26 AM, Blogger Zeek

    Gives me chills just "reading" it- when I hear it even more so!

    Boowormom you think we haven't made any progress? I think it's better than it was, though we do have far to go.

    Don't ya think?

     
  • At 12:56 PM, Blogger Holly

    I love that speech. Just reading it made me tear up. Mucho respect from here!

    I think we've made TONS of progress. I'm not naive enough to believe that everything is right in the world, but we HAVE come a long way. And, sad as it is, it's not just African-Americans who are shunned. It's people of all different colors and races.

    Well, I could say a lot more, but I won't. I don't think Dev posted this with the intention of starting a political/racial debate. lol

     
  • At 1:25 PM, Blogger Devonna

    Amanda ~ I do think that we're in a better place than when MLK originally gave this speech. Granted, we do have a ways to go, but I think it's better. Is it as it should be? No, I don't think so but there are people leading change almost every day. I hope one day we'll be there.

    Zeek ~ I love listening to it, too. I intended to sit down last night and listen to it too, but I ran out of time. I need to do that again.

    Holly ~ I'm all for a respectful debate, but you're right. I didn't intend to have a platform for debate :-)

     
  • At 3:39 PM, Blogger Mailyn

    I think the world sucks as much as it's always done...but that's just me and it has nothing to do with racism. Well, not all of it. Let's just say it's full of idiots! LOL

     
  • At 5:32 PM, Blogger Dylan aka Rowena

    Man it's been awhile since I've read that...thanks for posting this up sweets, it's nice to reread that speech, reminds us that we, as the world, are still so far from the dream MLK was talking about.

    But I agree with Holly, we've come along way we just still have a ways to go.

     
  • At 12:23 PM, Blogger Zeek

    I didn't mean for a debate either and I certainly didn't mean ill-will to anyone thinking that things are still shitty! (Hope no one thinks that!!) As I said before, I too feel we have a ways to go yet ...

    I just meant, that I feel we've grown a bit from what it was and we have MLK to thank for it!

     
  • At 11:04 AM, Blogger Jen

    Thank you for posting this speech - easily one of the most important in American history. I have stood on the spot where Dr. King delivered this speech. It was awesome!

     
  • At 8:50 AM, Blogger Devonna

    Mailyn ~ Yes, there are a lot of idiots out there, unfortunately.

    Dylan ~ You're welcome! It'd been a long time since I'd read it also.

    Zeek ~ No worries about the debate. MLK was definitely a great man.

    Jen ~ What an amazing experience to have stood in the spot where he gave this speech. I hope I can do the same someday.