On this day, 1.21.19, I have taken a look at the “I have a dream speech” again and selected some quotes from it. The speech, of course, should be taken in its entirety and full context. Still, I thought this selection might serve a purpose. I took the time, as I do each year, to revisit MLK’s texts and to reflect on where we are as a nation in relation to them in time and space. Some 51 years after his death. and some 56 years after the speech, there is no doubt we have come far in many aspects of the evolution of our society in terms of laws and the general views about race and gender and civil rights that the younger generation commonly uphold. Still, it is also obvious that these past decades have done little to alter the deep injustices in our society that were born from slavery and other elements of our nation’s origin.
These quotes are among the ideas I will reflect on today. I work to keep MLK and other pillars of our dreams alive in me and my work every day, though this auspicious day marks an opportunity to stop and reflect. There is probably no greater or more potent opportunity to contribute to MLK’s dream of the world as being an educator and working with children in one form or another. Thanks to all who have taken up this ” teaching” work in the past, the present, and who will do so in the spirit of guiding the next generation to construct a better world.
Here are the parts of the speech I have been reflecting on.. I was going to provide my thoughts.. but for the purpose of this post thought it better to let them speak for themselves.
Looking at quotes from the I have a dream speech (8.28.63) on 1.21.19 MLK Day
“greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”
“…But one hundred years later (All right), the Negro still is not free.”
“…sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.”
“One hundred years later (All right), the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”
“…This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men (My Lord), would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
“…We have also come to this hallowed spot (My Lord) to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. (Mhm) This is no time (My Lord) to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.” “ ….Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”
“…I have a dream (Mhm) that one day (Yes) this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed (Hah): “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” (Yeah, Uh-huh, Hear hear) [applause]..”
“ … (Yes) we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation (Yes) into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. (Talk about it)”
“ … “Free at last! (Yes) Free at last! ”