Monday, January 16, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Aug 28, 1963 Speech)

Reading and listening to Dr. King's speech this morning, the day in which we celebrate as a national holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, my eyes are moist with welling tears. Thank God for that inspired man. Thank God for the end of segregation and damnable racism.

Sadly, there still are prejudices and unkindness. About three weeks ago I sat with a trusted black friend of mine who told me how hurtful it was to him that a white man came up to him and said, "I've never liked your kind, but you're not so bad." My friend, nearly in tears himself, asked rhetorically, "And that was somehow supposed to be a compliment?" Fortunately, my friend had more love and diplomacy than the ignorant white fellow who either intentionally or unintentionally berated him.

May we always remember to not judge others by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

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 is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

...We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only"... No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

...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 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, ...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, 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... 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.

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, 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, 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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