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Old 01-12-2007, 04:19 AM   #1
Ellis
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Default Martin Luther King Day…

MLK Day is coming up and I have been holding in discussing some things about him and racism until MLK Day. It is still a bit early, but at least this way I can reserve the first post I have read his autobiography and a lot about him over the last year and wanted to touch on a few things…

Rather than going into some huge thing about King’s life, which many of you probably already know, I just wanted to point out what stands out the most to me about him. Throughout his movements he strongly stressed and helped his followers not retaliate or use any kind of violence towards their opposition. His house had bombed numerous times, his intentions were constantly being questioned, he had been wiretapped by the FBI for the last seven years of his life, his people had been mistreated, many times the government would not listen to him, he had constant political pressure put him, he had been stabbed in the chest, but throughout all of that he stayed focused on the big picture and always kept his cool and preached to love your enemy. Despite being someone who is against organized religion and doesn’t thing too fondly of Christianity, I can say that King is a true American hero and a true role model. He was a great leader and spread a message that if everyone listened to, the world would be a lot better.

Over 30 years later, despite what some people want to believe, racism is still a problem in this country. Whether it is towards Blacks, Mexicans, Gays, or Arabs, it is still found throughout America today and even often in the government. It a frustrating thing because you would think that by now people would have learned better, but apparently many still haven’t.

I also find it funny that while many say they love King’s message, they know absolutely nothing about him except that he fought for civil rights and gave the “I Have A Dream Speech.” Monday being MLK Day, if you like the premise of his ideas or what you know about him, you should really take time to better know the leadership, life, and ideas of Martin Luther King Jr.

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Old 01-12-2007, 07:19 PM   #2
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MLK's "I Have A Dream" Speech, August 28, 1963

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves, who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still 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. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. 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.

Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all God’s children.

Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.

There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

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 wrong 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 their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. 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 can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

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.

No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecutions and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our modern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, 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 out on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners 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 desert state sweltering with the heat and injustice 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 the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

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 plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning "My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California.

But not only that, let freedom, ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom 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."
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Old 01-13-2007, 06:27 AM   #3
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Another :thumbup: thread, Ellis....
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Old 01-15-2007, 11:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis View Post
being someone who is against organized religion and doesn’t thing too fondly of Christianity, I can say that King is a true American hero and a true role model. He was a great leader and spread a message that if everyone listened to, the world would be a lot better.
I agree and good post Ellis... I do think that Dr. Martin Luther King is a good role model... I do not, however, think that we should have a special day to honor him (Federal Holiday) since it sets up a dangerous precedent of devoting holidays to various American heros... which while good in its intension invariably neglects others more worthy... certainly if MLK qualifies then so does this hero and this hero and so on...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis View Post
Over 30 years later, despite what some people want to believe, racism is still a problem in this country. Whether it is towards Blacks, Mexicans, Gays, or Arabs, it is still found throughout America today and even often in the government. It a frustrating thing because you would think that by now people would have learned better, but apparently many still haven’t..
We have made great inroads toward eliminating racism however it is still perpetuated, as you say, by government, through set aside contracts, minority preference hiring, and affirmative action. Dr. King would be the first to recommend equality for all and we should follow that...

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Originally Posted by Ellis View Post
I also find it funny that while many say they love King’s message, they know absolutely nothing about him except that he fought for civil rights and gave the “I Have A Dream Speech.” Monday being MLK Day, if you like the premise of his ideas or what you know about him, you should really take time to better know the leadership, life, and ideas of Martin Luther King Jr.
I recommend Dr. King's letters as they form the basis of his ideas... Many of the contemporary black groups today (such as the NAACP) urge a direction of political action that I don't believe Dr. King would have approved...That too needs to be understood in context to the greater Civil Rights movement.
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Old 01-15-2007, 06:40 PM   #5
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I was alive to see Rev King on TV and he certainly could move an audience to action. His message was based on self-reliance, not waiting for Government handouts. He wanted to see a color-blind society, which I do as well, and would not likely have been appreciative of the state of the civil rights movement today. Artifically elevating one due to skin color (Affirmative Action) is not the way to acheive this goal. I believe in equity among races and in merit-based hiring, promotion and acceptance into professional schools. If one is more qualified, one should get the position, regardless of race, gender, or any other feature.
I echo the sentiments of previous posters. Good thread, Ellis.
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:56 AM   #6
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This speech is great... Bobby Kennedy have it just hours after King's death. Powerful stuff....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gigsZH5HlJA
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