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Martin luther king. i have a dream

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  • 1. King, Martin Luther, Jr. 1963. “I Have a Dream”Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), a central twentieth-century figure, wasa clergyman and civil rights leader noted for his belief in nonviolence. Hewas propelled onto the national stage with the famous Montgomery boycottof 1954, founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, gave themoving "I Have a Dream" speech during the 1963 March on Washington,and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King was assassinated in1968.Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand,signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as agreat beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been searedin the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end thelong night of captivity.But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro isstill not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadlycrippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in themidst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, theNegro is still languishing in the corners of American society and findshimself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatizean appalling condition.In a sense we have come to our nations capital to cash a check. When thearchitects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitutionand the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note towhich every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all menwould be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit ofhappiness.It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory noteinsofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacredobligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check whichhas come back marked "insufficient finds." But we refuse to believe that thebank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficientfunds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come tocash this check-a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedomand the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to
  • 2. remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage inthe luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drugs of gradualism.Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy. Now is the time torise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path ofracial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all ofGods children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands ofracial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and tounderestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer ofthe Negros legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigoratingautumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Thosewho hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be contentwill have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. Therewill be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted hiscitizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake thefoundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on 6 thewarm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process ofgaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let usnot seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup ofbitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the highplane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest todegenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to themajestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelousnew militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us toa distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidencedby their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tiedup 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 7 ahead. Wecannot 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 theNegro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We cannever 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 thecities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negros basic mobility is from asmaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro
  • 3. in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothingfor which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfieduntil justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.We have come to cash this check-a check that will give us upon demand theriches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hal-lowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no timeto engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drugs ofgradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy. Nowis the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to thesunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunityto all of Gods children. Now is the time to lift our nation from thequicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and tounderestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer ofthe Negros legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigoratingautumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Thosewho hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be contentwill have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. Therewill be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted hiscitizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake thefoundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on 6 thewarm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process ofgaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let usnot seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup ofbitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the highplane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest todegenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to themajestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelousnew militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us toa distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidencedby their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tiedup 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 7 ahead. Wecannot 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
  • 4. Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We cannever 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 thecities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negros basic mobility is from asmaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negroin Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothingfor which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfieduntil justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.My country, tin of thee, Sweet land of liberty,Of thee I sing:Land where my fathers died,Land of the pilgrims pride,From every mountain-side,Let freedom ring.And if America in to be a great nation thin must become true. So let freedomring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ringfrom 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 molehill of Mississippi. From everymountainside, let freedom ring.When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and everyhamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that daywhen all of Gods children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles,Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words ofthe old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, weare free at last!"

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