Baptist Minister, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a giant of a man in a time when it took giants to break the hold of Jim Crow laws in the segregated South. He was a man who sought to bring people of all colors and backgrounds together to join in the American Dream. I will salute him now and castigate those who misuse his legacy. I do wish that the sniper's bullets of the 1960's had missed their mark. The best of the Democrats (JFK and RFK) were killed off, and the party veered off to the left beginning with the incompetent blundering of Lyndon Baines Johnson. When Dr. King was murdered, his legacy became so twisted that he himself would barely recognize the miscreants who claim to take his place. Personally I believe that the bullets that took out JFK and MLK led to the degradation of American society as there were no statesmen worthy of taking their places in the world. The Great Society was actually the plan to chain the black poor to their poverty, in my opinion.
"African-American columnist Joseph Perkins has studied the effects of Reaganomics on black America. He found that, after the Reagan tax cuts gained traction, African-American unemployment fell from 19.5 percent in 1983 to 11.4 percent in 1989. Black-owned businesses saw income rise from $12.4 billion in 1982 to $18.1 billion in 1987-an annual average growth rate of 7.9 percent. The black middle class expanded by one-third during the Reagan years, from 3.6 million to 4.8 million."
"...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."
So do I, Dr. King! So did my brother in Christ, the former lead singer of Dion and the Belmonts, Dion DiMucci:
My eyes cannot stop the tears from falling. How have we, as a nation, forgotten the message of Dr. King and twisted it into unrecognizable hatred? John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr were certainly not perfect men. But they were great men who sought to bring us together. Part of the process that has divided this nation into partisan camps far apart from each other were the flight paths of bullets fired by cowards to stop the mouths of the brave.
The I Have a Dream Speech
In 1950's America, the equality of man envisioned by the Declaration of Independence was far from a reality. People of color — blacks, Hispanics, Asians — were discriminated against in many ways, both overt and covert. The 1950's were a turbulent time in America, when racial barriers began to come down due to Supreme Court decisions, like Brown v. Board of Education; and due to an increase in the activism of blacks, fighting for equal rights.
Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister, was a driving force in the push for racial equality in the 1950's and the 1960's. In 1963, King and his staff focused on Birmingham, Alabama. They marched and protested non-violently, raising the ire of local officials who sicced water cannon and police dogs on the marchers, whose ranks included teenagers and children. The bad publicity and break-down of business forced the white leaders of Birmingham to concede to some anti-segregation demands.
Thrust into the national spotlight in Birmingham, where he was arrested and jailed, King helped organize a massive march on Washington, DC, on August 28, 1963. His partners in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom included other religious leaders, labor leaders, and black organizers. The assembled masses marched down the Washington Mall from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, heard songs from Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, and heard speeches by actor Charlton Heston, NAACP president Roy Wilkins, and future U.S. Representative from Georgia John Lewis.
King's appearance was the last of the event; the closing speech was carried live on major television networks. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King evoked the name of Lincoln in his "I Have a Dream" speech, which is credited with mobilizing supporters of desegregation and prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The next year, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The following is the exact text of the spoken speech, transcribed from recordings.