Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech before hundreds of thousands of civil rights advocates, supporters, and believers in our nation’s capital.
A half century later, his words are still enormously powerful and inspiring (particularly when one reads the history and learns the “I have a dream” part was improvised and wasn’t part of his prepared text).
The text of the speech is well worth a read, and can be found in its entirety at the National Archives. One of Eduflack’s favorite sections remains:
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind American 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 lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
For those who would rather hear the words of Dr. King, his August 28 speech can be watched here.
While many will continue to argue about what Dr. King would have believed about this issue or that issue were he still alive today, such arguments should be left for other days. Today should be one to reflect on his words of 50 years ago, and to realize how far we have come, yet how much further we still must travel.