Excerpts from MLK’s “I Have A Dream” Speech That Still Resonates!
Monday, Jan 17, 2022, is MLK Day holiday in America. If you have never heard Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 17-minute speech in its entirety or read a complete transcript and reflected on his words, here is your chance. MLK gave the speech in 1963, a hundred years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. He said:
“But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”
“This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”
“1963 is not an end, but a beginning.”
“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.”
“There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”
“We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.”
“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.”
“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight”
Nearly sixty years after that speech in 1963, MLK’s words still ring true. While the singular stories of President Barack Obama — among the few presidents who were elected twice and their vice-president became the President, and Vice President Kamala Harris tell us that a few can rise above the barriers, killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and efforts at diminishing and suppressing the voice of Black voters across the country tell us how far we need to go to claim “We are all free at last.”
Wish you a happy MLK Day of service!
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