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"Let's Not Forget!"

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by P. Aaron, Jan 20, 2003.


  1. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

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

    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 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 rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

    It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. 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 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 pledge that 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 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 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 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 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, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, 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 slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

    I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

    I have a dream that my four 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 the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together 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 which I return to the South. 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 snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

    Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks 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 every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

    When we let 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!"
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=5625
     
  2. Gabu

    Gabu

    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Thank you. I love that speach. I wish so much that I could have met that man.
     
  3. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I'm just glad I remembered to find it and read it again. I wasn't sure about posting it, because of the moratorium, but it's too good to ignore!
     
  4. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    One of the best speeches I've heard.
     
  5. Its like poetry on the page, it could easily be put into verse, which makes it even greater.


    RIP-MLK
     
  6. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Every time I hear that speech, it brings me to tears. Great words from a great man.
     
  7. Some things are above politics (well, for a while!).

    Thank you.
     
  8. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Definitely
     
  9. BigBohn

    BigBohn

    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    Great speech. A true visionary of his time that inspired and keeps on inspiring millions.

    RIP MLK
     
  10. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    It's because he contructed it well. We analyzed it for English class. He uses lots of alliteration (saying strings of words that sound simmilar). It's that much a greater speach when you see why it sounds so good.

    A great man.
     
  11. jcadmus

    jcadmus

    Apr 2, 2000
    I like the part about judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

    I think that about covers it for me.
     
  12. It's an awesome speech, better than the "greats" I read for my Latin class (Cicero, Virgil)


    The man was a hero
     
  13. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    The great thing about Dr. Kings' words are that it speaks to people. There's not a wasted word, and for those who may have forgeotten, there is a valuable American history lesson in the words themselves.

    It's too good to be called just a speech.
     
  14. DanGouge

    DanGouge

    May 25, 2000
    Canada!
    "...and may your dreams be realized"
    -Bono, MLK
     
  15. ARA punk

    ARA punk

    Jul 11, 2001
    USA, Shelby, NC
    Thats great.
     
  16. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    One of THE all time greatest speaches known to man.
     
  17. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Thanks for posting that. Hearing it is amazingly powerful.
     
  18. I believe that it is the GREATEST speech ever created.

    Reading it gave me the chills. I could hear his powerful voice giving the speech in my head.

    R.I.P. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thank you for everything.
     
  19. the things he accomplished. wow. the words of a great man.


    however, ok, i am doing it. he opened so many doors. he is a great man. a man i will respect to my dying day. the day he died we lost someone who could speak out and make people hear him. hear his words. believe in his words.

    then i was at work yesterday. hmmm. well, oneof the kids, 15 year old, spoke up, and asked "what was so great about him?" i was floored. i could believe my ears. so i sat with my girls, i work at a residential treatment home (group home), and i explained all this man did for this country. and she stated, among others, "so, i know he did that speech, and what it stood for and what it did, but what was so great that they get a day off from school. it is not that special.) needless to say, i gritted my teeth, counted a little bit, took a few breaths, and sat and thought, what are youth being taught today that there is no respect for this man. this man opened doors for so many people, so many different races, what is there to understand. sigh, i had to let it go or it would have turned into a nasty thing due to a couple girls who were turning red and angry at her words. sigh, someday she will again hear this speech and will understand its meaning and worth.
    sorry, that just really got me at work.