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Posts tagged: Martin Luther King

Upon the birthday of Martin Luther King…

Good morning, Netizens…


I spent most of yesterday observing the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King if not with a sense of obligation or even public service. I observed the holiday quietly, in retrospect and with a strong sense of the history which few others may have because of their relative youth.


Although I never witnessed Dr. King in any of his many speeches, I certainly visited the Deep South during a time in its history that still rests in my heart as one of the most disheartening, sad and bitter times. I still remember seeing the ugly “Whites Only” signs in nearly all public facilities. I also was told by many people, most of whom also came from the North, to avoid getting involved in any of the demonstrations that were frequently taking place.


In retrospect, I either didn't have the guts to stand up for my beliefs, or else I was smart enough to realize I very well could end up in jail (most likely on trumped-up charges) or worse. I developed a strong sense of avoidance during the early years of Segregation; avoiding controversy, any potential charges of racial favoritism, and always being careful where I parked at night.


Still, despite avoiding controversy of all kinds, I did manage to meet and know many people of color along the road, and they seemed to understand the quandary I found myself in. It seems in retrospect that if I met and greeted someone down south with gentle decency and kindness I nearly always received the same treatment wherever I was.


I cannot forget the courage of Dr. King, who based upon my memories of that time, had a vision of the future which still has not been fulfilled all these many years later. I once had high hopes that I would see that dream of which he spoke being fulfilled in my lifetime. Now, at the age of 66, I no longer believe that is true. But my children and perhaps their children may have learned from our past.



We Need to Dream Again

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth (January 15, 1929).  Mr. King was a remarkable figure in our history - for all cultures, for all faiths, for all beliefs, for all people.  As we seem to be muddled in the middle of a lot of negative news, let us get back on track.

Below are some excerpts from his 17 minute speech:

Key excerpts (from Wikipedia)

  • “In a sense we've 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.'”
  • “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.”
  • “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 and they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”
  • “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 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 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 a table of brotherhood.”
  • “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.”
  • “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.”
  • “Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow 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!”

May peace be with you, may peace lead you.  May you dream a dream that makes a difference in your life and the lives you touch.


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