Martin Luther King, Jr. is honored
By Jorge Garcia
On Monday many U.S. citizens, including students, enjoy a vacation day to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who dedicated his life to freedom for all people and who died a tragic death. He was born January 15, 1929, and died at age 39 on April 4, 1968. On Monday we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the national holiday that recognizes this Civil Rights activist and leader.
He is so well known that he has a monument in the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The memorial represents three underlying themes—justice, democracy and hope—with the use of water, stone and trees throughout the memorial.
He spoke out for justice and for an end to racial discrimination. Racism in the U.S. had continued during his lifetime in countless unnecessary deaths, but King made a huge difference. He organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was a protest campaign that started in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. It was to oppose the city’s policy of racial segregation on its public transit system. He was also involved in the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case that desegregated public schools. King also gave many of the world’s most famous speeches including his “I Have a Dream” speech, portions of which follow:
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. …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.
…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 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.
…And when this happens, when we allow freedom to 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!”
This is not the entire speech but only the beginning. If you wish to read the rest of the speech, it is available at http://www.usconstitution.net/dream.html