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Thursday, January 15, 2015

"I Have A Dream"

"I Have a Dream"

By Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thursday, January 15, 2015

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 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 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.

Nineteen sixty-three 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 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.

They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably
bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

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 signs 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.

Some of you have come from areas where your 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, 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, 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 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 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 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 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!"

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)
was an American Pastor, Activist, Humanitarian, and Leader
in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best
known for his role in the advancement of Civil Rights using
nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.

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