By Frederick Taylor,2014-05-29 01:39
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     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


    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 people a bad 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 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 of 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 wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our

    thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and


    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 distrust of all white

    people, for many of our white2007Ihaveadream发言演讲&_2


     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 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 can never 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 cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of

    persecution 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

    Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and

    ghettos of our northern 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 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 a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a

    desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and

    oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and


I have a dream that my four 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 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.

    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 wit2007Ihaveadream发言演讲&_3

     h a 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


    Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

    Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of


    Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every 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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