“I Have a Dream:” 50th Anniversary

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Good morning.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s great speech, “I have a dream.”

In case you missed my Saturday post, here is a youtube video of the complete speech:

Please take 17 minutes to watch, listen and recharge your batteries.

31 Responses to “I Have a Dream:” 50th Anniversary

  1. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    John Lewis’s 1963 Speech at the March on Washington:

    >The March on Washington
    Actual SNCC Chairman John Lewis’ Speech to the March

    [Note — Below is a transcript of the speech that John Lewis actually gave at the March after editing it to meet objections from others.]

    We march today for jobs and freedom, but we have nothing to be proud of, for hundreds and thousands of our brothers are not here, for they are receiving starvation wages or no wages at all. While we stand here, there are sharecroppers in the Delta of Mississippi who are out in the fields working for less than three dollars per day, 12 hours a day. While we stand here, there are students in jail on trumped-up charges. Our brother James Farmer, along with many others, is also in jail.

    We come here today with a great sense of misgiving. It is true that we support the administration’s Civil Rights Bill. We support it with great reservation, however. Unless title three is put in this bill, there’s nothing to protect the young children and old women who must face police dogs and fire hoses in the South while they engage in peaceful demonstration.

    In its present form this bill will not protect the citizens of Danville, Virginia, who must live in constant fear of a police state. It will not protect the hundreds and thousands of people that have been arrested on trumped up charges. What about the three young men, SNCC field secretaries in Americus, Georgia, who face the death penalty for engaging in peaceful protest?

    As it stands now, the voting section of this bill will not help the thousands of people who want to vote. It will not help the citizens of Mississippi, of Alabama and Georgia who are unqualified to vote for lack of sixth grade education. One man, one vote is the African cry. It is ours too. It must be ours.

    We must have legislation that will protect the Mississippi sharecroppers, who have been forced to leave their homes because they dared to exercise their right to register to vote. We need a bill that will provide for the homeless and starving people of this nation. We need a bill that will ensure the equality of a maid who earns five dollars a week in the home of a family whose total income is 100,000 dollars a year. We must have a good FEPC bill.

    My friends let us not forget that we are involved in a serious social revolution. By and large, politicians who build their career on immoral compromise and allow themselves an open forum of political, economic and social exploitation dominate American politics.

    There are exceptions, of course. We salute those. But what political leader can stand up and say, “My party is a party of principles”? For the party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march in the streets of Birmingham? Where is the political party that will protect the citizens of Albany, Georgia?

    Do you know that in Albany, Georgia nine of our leaders have been indicted, not by the Dixiecrats but by the federal government for peaceful protest? But what did the federal government do when Albany deputy sheriff beat Attorney C.B. King and left him half-dead? What did the federal government do when local police officials kicked and assaulted the pregnant wife of Slater King and she lost her baby?

    To those who have said, “Be patient and wait,” we must say that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually but we want to be free now.

    We are tired. We are tired of being beat by policemen. We are tired of seeing our people locked up in jail over and over again, and then you holler “Be patient.” How long can we be patient? We want our freedom and we want it now.

    We do not want to go to jail, but we will go to jail if this is the price we must pay for love, brotherhood and true peace. I appeal to all of you to get into this great revolution that is sweeping this nation. Get in and stay in the streets of every city, every village and hamlet of this nation until true freedom comes, until a revolution is complete. We must get in this revolution and complete the revolution. In the Delta of Mississippi, in Southwest Georgia, in the Black Belt of Alabama, in Harlem, in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and all over this nation the black masses are on a march for jobs and freedom.

    They’re talking about slow down and stop. We will not stop. All of the forces of Eastland, Barnett, Wallace, and Thurmond will not stop this revolution. If we do not get meaningful legislation out of this Congress, the time will come when we will not confine our march into Washington. We will march through the South, through the streets of Jackson, through the streets of Danville, through the streets of Cambridge, through the streets of Birmingham. But we will march with the spirit of love and with the spirit of dignity that we have shown here today.

    By the forces of our demands, our determination and our numbers, we shall send a desegregated South into a thousand pieces, put them together in the image of God and Democracy. We must say wake up America, wake up! For we cannot stop, and we will not and cannot be patient.

    http://www.crmvet.org/info/mowjl2.htm

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      John Lewis’s August 28, 2013 Speech at the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington:

    • “Depart from me; you are cursed . . . because I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger; you did not welcome me; naked, and you gave me no clothes; sick, and in jail, you did not visit me.”

      Then they will ask, “Lord when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or naked, or sick and in jail; when did we refuse to help you?”

      Then he will tell them, “The truth I will tell you is this: as long as you failed to do it to the least of these human beings, you failed to do it for me.”

      And they will go to eternal punishment . . . ”

      Mathew 25: 41-46.

      If Jesus were alive today, I believe he would reject much of what is preached in his name. I think he would speak like John Lewis and woe unto anyone who would dare offer excuses for inaction or compromise regarding fundamental human rights.

      He had no use for political games.

      I believe he would categorically reject the concept of negotiating with the rich for less than a full loaf. Rather, he would demand that the rich acknowledge the poor as human beings with dignity, rather than as human resources to denigrate, divide, conquer and exploit to the maximum extent possible. He would insist that every human being has a right to a job that pays a living wage with full benefits and the right to free health care, dental care and free education at public expense. These are non-negotiable basic human rights that all people have, regardless of the color of their skin, the language they speak, their gender, or their religious beliefs.

      He was a revolutionary who understood that all people are basically the same. Every man, woman and child has value.

      He understood that every human being, regardless of their financial net worth, is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and that access to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth cannot be bought; rather it must be earned by living the Golden Rule and acting for the benefit of the community rather than for the benefit of the self at the expense of others.

      The world he envisioned has always been within our reach, for we are the many and those who seek to enslave us are the few.

      I have lost patience with the right wing fundies, their games and their lies.

      Enough!

  2. Human beings will come and go, but the human spirit will never die.

  3. ay2z says:

    And we heard Heather Headly singing Jesus is Love.

    Here is another beautiful performance befitting today..

  4. ay2z says:

    Tstas, thank you for the C-span link. What a day! We have just witnessed history in the making.

    I’ts 3:47 pm EST, and the President’s speech will replayed in its entirty C-SPAN announces, in a few minutes from now.

    And at 8 PM EST, 5PM PST, the entire 4 hours of the event will be replayed.

    Highlights for me, the two great past presidents, especially President Carter, John Lewe.

    President Obama’s speech will go down in history.

    http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN/

    Thank you Fred and Crane for this link for everyone to share.

    • ay2z says:

      I missed something, was that Eunice Kennedy who spoke? There are some of her words that rosound, that ‘fairness and equaility’ are powerful feelings that resound in everyone”. I can’t put this in context except that this is a common thread of hope.

      And so many others. This was a historic day.

      • ay2z says:

        The speaker was Linda Johnson-Robb. She too, was great. Tonight I relistened to some of the event. Clinton “put our shoulders against the gate that holds American’s back”.

  5. No introduction necessary:

  6. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    Live steaming on C-Span of Commemoration of March on Washington:

    http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN/

    • Trained Observer says:

      Thanks for link, yahtc

      • You all have thoughtful comments says:

        YW, TrainedObserver.

        Andrew Young speaking now. He began by singing “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Stayed on Freedom”!

        He’s ending now by singing “I’ve Got a Feeling that Everything is Going to Be Alright”

        He ended by saying “Pray On, Stay On and Firght On”

      • You all have thoughtful comments says:

        Sybrina and Tracy are now singing “Blowin’ in the Wind” with Peter and Paul of Peter, Paul and Mary.

        Very moving!

      • You all have thoughtful comments says:

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      excerpt from linked article

      SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —Shellie Zimmerman will be required to serve one year probation after taking a plea deal on perjury charges against her.

      Can Shellie report to any probation officer anywhere?

      • You all have thoughtful comments says:

        My question appeared in italics.

      • No. She will be assigned a specific probation officer who will monitor whether she is in compliance with her conditions of probation, including payment of fines, costs and community service.

        She will not be permitted to leave the county or move without permission until she completes her probation.

        If she violates a condition of permission, she may have to serve some jail time.

  7. Soulcatcher says:

    uno

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      Dr Martin Luther King Jr, August 28, 1963:

      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 selfhood 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 snowcapped 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!”

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