The Dream

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

From the 2nd half of his famous speech:

So I say to you, my friends, that even though we must face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American 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, sons of former slaves and 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 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 every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places shall be made plain, and the crooked places shall be made straight and the glory of the Lord will 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 hear 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 go to jail 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 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 mountain side, let freedom ring”-and if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

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 the 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 we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children – black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and Protestants – will be able to join hands and to sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

Photo and words of MLK, Jr. (above) and  Medal of Freedom Citation (below) can be found at  www.medaloffreedom.com/MartinLutherKingJr.htm

Medal of Freedom Citation:
Awarded by
President Jimmy Carter
July 11, 1977

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was the conscience of his generation. He gazed upon the great wall of segregation and saw that the power of love could bring it down. From the pain and exhaustion of his fight to fulfill the promises of our founding fathers for our humblest citizens, he wrung his eloquent statement of his dream for America. He made our nation stronger because he made it better. His dream sustains us yet.

 

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest.   My first experience with racism was in middle school, when I heard the father of a friend make a disparinging comment about black people.   I was shocked.    I was wounded; I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach.  To this day, I can still remember the feeling in my gut when I heard those words and that tone of voice.   Sadly, I heard it again last week.  I have never become used to it; I will never become immune to such venom.

Tomorrow we observe the American “changing of the guard.”   It is done in a truly amazingly orderly fashion, with somber respect and great celebration of peaceful democracy.   

No matter what other feelings you have about the outgoing or incoming President, I hope you can celebrate with me the important piece of The Dream that has been realized. 

The 44th President of the United States of America

The 44th President of the United States of America

 

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9 responses to “The Dream

  1. Great post – gave me shivers up my spine.

  2. remarkable couple of days here, isn’t it?

  3. I remember being about 13 and I was at a friends house…we were watching Michael Jackson sing on TV…her father came in and said “we call them (referencing African Americans) porch monkeys…what does your family call them?” Well, I was only 13, taught to respect my elders and I was stammering in shock…I couldn’t believe he had said something …or believed something so damaging….I finally realized saying nothing might give him the idea that my family had the same ideas…so I finally stammered out. “We call them people” I remember his eyes narrowing at me……my experience is so mild compared to what others have had to live with every single day. I feel so much joy that Martin Luther Kings dream is progressing…and that slowly that sort of hate with no basis is being put down, as others stand up.

  4. I grew up in an area where there were no black families. It wasn’t until I went away to college that I even knew a black person…and that was in the 90s. I am a person that believes we are all equal when it comes to the color of our skin. We are only ‘not equal’ when our behavior denotes otherwise…

  5. KC- Thank you for posting MLK’s speech today.
    Mary Alice – kudos to your 13 year-old self for the guts you showed.
    I’m going to sit down and watch the inauguration tomorrow, hoping with you all that this is indeed the beginning of a new dawn for your country. And the rest of the world.

  6. I have decided I am going to wake up a new and better person.

  7. Excellent post! Unfortunately, our society still has a way to go to overcome racism. I suppose the same can be said of justice, freedom, equality, and peace. Today a grand step will be taken with the inauguration of President Obama (I love that sound of that name!) Hope remains alive for the future!

  8. Wonderful post, KC. I could hear his voice in my head as I read it.

    As with Mary Alice, I’ve always been taught and felt that all people are deserving of respect. There’s been a disturbing rise in racist incidents up here that we’re struggling to deal with. What a flawed species we are.

    A truly momentous thing is happening in a short while and I will be watching in my office.

  9. I knew there was a reason why I liked you …

    🙂