This year marks the 57th anniversary of the great “I Have a Dream” speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. It is one of the greatest speeches ever given by one of our Nation’s greatest citizens. King believed in a world where the color of a person’s skin, their religion or nationality never factored into another person’s judgement. He believed in fairness and equality for all persons. He never backed down and he never lost hope. Even after the foulness administered to them in Birmingham, he believed. Even when he was jailed, spending eleven days behind bars, he believed. He believed in that the inherent goodness in all men, that someday man will finally realize that we are no different and that all deserve equality and have the right to live without fear of their neighbor. He fought for the rights of his brothers and sisters, not with his fists, but with his pen and his heart.
King never made it to his 40th birthday, yet he lived one of the most instrumental lives in U. S. history. He was one of the greatest of us all and should be honored as such.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., many spend a day in service to others, some honor him by spreading his message to the young and old alike, some honor him by reflecting on their own life and what they have done to help King’s dream become a reality. However you choose to honor his message, do so with hope.
Below is just an excerpt of Dr. King’s revolutionary speech; A speech much needed as a counter to today’s divisive rhetoric.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And 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!