Special Dates In American Civil Rights History

During the month of April we are reminded of two very significant dates in our fairly recent history.  April 3 and April 4.  On the 3rd, in 1968 we could find Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis delivering what has become an iconic speech about being on the mountain top.
On April 4th, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by Earl James Ray in Memphis just before executing his Poor People’s Campaign, a rally to be held in Washington DC.  Mr. King was eventually awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and Martin Luther King, Jr. day was eventually established as a holiday that honors his birthday on January 15th.
MLK, Jr.’s speech that day and the one earlier in 1963, came to be viewed as the most powerful movement resulting in the greatest strides in the direction of establishing civil rights in America as a priority agenda item for all American lawmakers and politicians.

His “I Have a Dream” speech during his March on Washington in 1963 established the very foundations for the Civil Rights act of 1964, the first official public declaration that set up parameters and guidelines for establishing equality for black Americans.  The text of his speech is both great in terms of thought inspiring and provoking as well as in how phenomenally well written it is in terms of speech making prose.  I invite you to enjoy this and reflect on how we continue to work to “get it right” for civil rights:

“I say to you today, my friends, 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.

 

    1. Younge, Gary (August 21, 2003). “I have a dream”. The Guardian. Archived from the original on January 9, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
    2. Jump up ^ Hansen, Drew (2005). The Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation. HarperCollins. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-06-008477-6.
    3. Jump up ^ King, Martin Luther; King, Coretta Scott (2008). The Words of Martin Luther King Jr.: Second Edition. Newmarket Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-55704-815-8.