I HAVE A DREAM
(28 de Agosto de 1963)
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration of 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 moment 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 day-break to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that 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. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself in an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize an appaling 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 wich every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the persuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Insted of honering this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check wich has come back marked "insuficient funds". But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insuficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this natio. So we have come to cash this 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 remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of coolin off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make true the promises of Democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark of desolate valley of segregation to the sunlight path of racial justice. Now is the time to open doors of opportunity of 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 understimate 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. Niniteen sixty-three is not a 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 that justice emerges.
But there is something I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold wich 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 hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the light 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 militance wich has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to 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 they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we wallk, we must make the pedge 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 large one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississipi cannot vote and a Negro in New York has nothing for wich to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like watters 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 come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest of 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.