Martin Luther King Begins “I Have A Dream”

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January 16, 2012 by David Gillaspie

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In a speech that reverberates through history, Dr. King’s words from Aug. 28, 1963 show an America with a long road ahead.

Today, nearly fifty years after ‘I Have A Dream’, the road is no shorter, but the hope of finding the right direction increases with the work of good people.

Dr. King, the floor is yours:

“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 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 captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still 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 an appalling 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 would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Americans of a certain age remember the leaders of the 60’s for their daring. And the dues they paid.

A fourth grader in 1963 remembers history on television, from huge civil rights demonstrations handled with a strong arm, to the sudden silence of voices taken away.

The dream of a better America might seem futile in these days of corporate robbery, but the power of that dream bring fresh voices to the front. From the pulpit to the podium, from the street to the Capital steps, the dream lives on in true hearts.


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