WASHINGTON DC, AUGUST 28, 1963 –
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.
Martin Luther King Jr.
54 years ago – The Democratic Party & Jim Crow laws, the Democratic Party’s segregated lunch counters and drinking fountains, the Democratic Party’s denial of basic human rights – Democratic Party fire hoses & attack dogs to stop black American protests, the “liberal” employment of Democratic Party billy clubs and night sticks. A hell on earth for a black American in the South. Amidst all this, all the calls for revenge, for payback, for retribution – a powerful and redemptive message rose from the ashes of racial hatred & violence. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke, he cried out to the multitudes – he appealed to what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature”. And when he spoke, he asked us to judge our brothers and sisters not by their skin color, but by “the content of their character”. He asked us to walk together, to pray together, to march together. He asked us not to be violent, not to hate, not to be bitter. That is not the America we live in today. Race. race, race, and more race – government statutes that mandate racial set asides; racial quotas; racial admission practices at our universities and colleges – policies that sow division between and amongst our fellow citizens. We witness the unholy rants and hatred of Al Sharpton and Minister Farrakhan – ceaseless race baiting by race hucksters. We see an epidemic of black on black crime; the disappearance of the two parent black family; the degraded and violent culture of hip hop and rap. Innocent, disadvantaged black Americans in the inner cities victimized by liberal welfare policies that tear at the very heart and soul of a community, that rob the recipients of the dignity found in honest work and achievement. Schools, churches, and playgrounds that are unsafe – the streets littered with dead bodies of innocent citizens – American families terrorized by gangs and drug dealers in their own neighborhood! The predators, the looters, the rioters and the “bangers” excused of responsibility by white liberal elites – the special enablers and accomplices to this obscene violence against our fellow citizens.
To all black Americans, to my fellow citizens – stop listening to the race baiters and race hucksters. Cast out Sharpton, Jackson, Farrakhan. You are Americans! Reclaim what is rightfully yours! The American flag stands for liberty and justice for all – can you petition for that which you do not proclaim? You are Americans, fly the flag proudly. Read, study, & embrace your countries’ history – good & bad – it is yours too! Don’t wait for government – take responsibility for your own churches, homes and communities. Promote good citizenship, become role models for those that have none. Lead by example, help your bothers & sisters, band together to make your streets safe, reach out to cops in your communities – you need their help as you work to make your neighborhoods safe. The government can only help at the margins – show your fellow citizens that you have the courage and character necessary for real progress. There will be Americans like me that stand ready to help.
And if these words have been forgotten, please listen again. A great and noble speech, let us celebrate it’s message of peace, brotherhood, and reconciliation.
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. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
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 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 that one day every valley shall be exalted, and 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. [Isaiah 40:4]
Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and 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!”