The King's speech

Fifty years later, most of the 'Dream' has come to pass

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If Americans today possess less knowledge of history, we’ve at least got a better feel for it. Anniversaries of society’s most significant events are commemorated religiously and spiritedly, as they should be.

Few commemorations in the past half-century have been as momentous and meaningful as today’s 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Fifty years ago today, a segregated and sinful nation was in desperate need of moral leadership.

A rising generation, black and white, was rightfully rebelling against the status quo, and was increasingly – and justifiably – impatient with it. It had been 100 years since the Emancipation Proclamation; 15 years since President Truman outlawed discrimination in the military; a decade since Brown v. Board of Education outlawed school segregation; eight years since Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott; six years since the military-aided integration of Little Rock’s Central High; three years since the Greensboro, N.C., lunch counter sit-in; two years since the freedom riders began; and a year since James Meredith’s entrance into the University of Mississippi caused rioting and even death.

How can a nation founded on such high-minded, historic, Judeo-Christian principles have fallen so short of them for so long? What were people supposed to wait for, after the soaring promise of the Constitution had been denied so long? How long should an entire race be told to sit on their dreams and be forced to pine, in vain, for basic human freedom?

More practically, how to get that freedom?

This was a nation born of the willingness to fight and die for freedom, and there were militant voices in the 1960s. But in this case, there was a better, albeit painfully slower, path – one of nonviolent change.

It was the path laid out eloquently in King’s speech.

King did not shrink from calling for peaceful rebellion. He was not meek, warning that “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.”

Yet, he quickly cautioned African-Americans that, “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 high plane of dignity and discipline.”

He called for peace, but insisted on justice. In so doing, he could not have set a better tone for a turbulent time.

In fact, for both its eloquence and impact, scholars have named King’s speech the country’s best in all of the 20th century.

Nor was it merely a speech or a call to action. It was as powerful a closing argument as any jury has ever been witness to. He argued that America had signed a promissory note in its lofty founding documents – the promise of freedom, the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – but that, for African-Americans, it had turned out to be a bad check marked “insufficient funds.”

“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check,” he said.

Fifty years later, most of what King called for has come to pass. Right was on his side, but now so is the law – and, from all appearances, most hearts. But his dream of a unified nation seems gloomily distant still, thanks in large part to a government that impedes individual initiative and media that too often deny progress and delight in division – which only eggs on the self-serving demagogues. The cup of bitterness and hatred runneth over.

This was not King’s dream, nor should it be our reality.

Let it be our dream that on every Aug. 28, this fervent commemoration would be more about victory than victimization – not about having to overcome, but about having done it.

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Truth Matters
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Truth Matters 08/28/13 - 01:20 am
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A living dream

Having traveled abroad earlier this year, I am so aware of what a great country ours is. Dr. King saw the potential of America. Being a great nation does not mean that we no longer need to strive for that "more perfect union."

Other nations look to us for leadership and expect us to be an example. My dream is that we all be more cognizant of the verbal and non-verbal messages we send to the world by our actions toward one another. We can not be credible advocates for peace and have senseless killings on our streets daily; we can not be credible advocates for civil and human rights if we are willing to remain silent when some states will change laws that have the effect of excluding thousands from exercising the right to vote; and we can not be credible advocates for world peace if we can not get along with our sisters and brothers___be they Native American, white, black, Jew or gentile, gay or straight__at home.

The one lesson that I took away from Antoinette Tuff's encounter with Michael Brandon Hill is that as flawed as we all maybe, we all have a bit of humanity that binds us as a people. My dream is that we honor Dr. King in a way that brings that humanity forth in a spirit of love and respect for our fellowman.

soldout
1280
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soldout 08/28/13 - 02:37 am
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just changed slave masters

Unfortunately for many, the plantation slave master has been swapped for a government one. This one is no better in that it provides a few clothes, a place to live and some food in exchange for your vote. Real freedom comes through Christ and same type people who were free before Kings speech are free today. Others were slaves before the speech and are still slaves today. For real freedom serve the real "Master" and the color of skin and background has no effect on your life.

specsta
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specsta 08/28/13 - 03:01 am
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Come To Pass? Please!

ACES wrote - "Fifty years later, most of what King called for has come to pass."

You must be kidding me.

Folks love to bring up the "I Have A Dream" speech - it's uplifting, charismatic, and hopeful. But Dr. King's focus went far beyond that. Take a read of Dr. King's speech "Beyond Vietnam - A Time To Break Silence".

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm

This is the King speech folks DON'T like to talk about. Especially corporate leaders and government officials. The speech minces no words and condemns America for its violent, selfish ways - for its continuing destruction of poor peoples across the globe. Any speech that pulls no punches and deems that the US government is the "greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" is a speech that isn't read to the schoolchildren or broadcast on network TV.

King said, "When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

This sounds exactly like 2013 - forty-six years after this speech was given at Riverside Church in New York City.

So Aces, I would offer that few of Dr. King's dreams for an America united against poverty and united against warfare has come to pass.

This country routinely condemns the poor and kills innocent civilians in other countries. We meddle in other countries affairs, causing their leaders to topple and civil unrest to rise. We turn a blind eye to the needs of the poorest Americans, claiming that helping them somehow takes money out of our greedy pockets. We grease the wheels of the military-industrial complex, profiting from the death and destruction of other human beings.

Dr. King would be ashamed of us.

It is not enough to have a black President - when that President continues to perpetrate the same policies of previous conservative administrations that bring war to others and loss of freedoms to Americans.

It is not enough to have integrated schools, to be able to sit at the front of the bus, to be able to marry and date a white woman without being lynched, to be able to use the same restroom and eat in the same restaurants with whites, to be able to vote freely (and that's going away), and to be able to live in the same neighborhoods as whites.

All those things SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN ISSUES period. But the stupidity of racism made Jim Crow an actual state of living. Completely asinine and stupid.

The continued war on poor people, the gross inequality of incomes and standard of living, the insufficient funding of education and the erosion of freedom as we march toward a police-state existence, are the things that illustrate that this nation has failed in realizing Dr. King's dream for equality in every area of life.

As long as the government spends more on instruments to kill and maim other human beings, than what is spent to educate and house and feed US citizens, this country will have failed to honor the truths spoken by Dr. King.

Bodhisattva
6850
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Bodhisattva 08/28/13 - 04:01 am
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What hogwash. Racism is alive

What hogwash. Racism is alive and well and never went away. It was forced, by the evil government, to not have legal status. Excuse me, until the right wing (brought to you by corporate USA, bought and paid for) justices decided that protecting someone's right to votes was perpetuating a racial stereotype and killed some of the laws. Of course the non-racists, in the non-racist states immediately began planning how they can make non-racist laws that block minorities' right to vote. The Chronicle lives for it and perpetuates it almost daily, as do certain buffoons on local radio. It sells here in Augusta because the people in Augusta and this area (CC and AC) ARE racist, white, uneducated, uncultured, and go to church on Sunday (not that there's anything wrong with #2 and #5 as long as you don't try to make the rules and regs of your #5 law, a major downfall of many around here). Scare old white people and you've got a loyal audience. That's been Fox's dynamic and audience for years. It's dying off, that's why you're seeing changes at Fox. "OMG Mildred, the Black Panthers are taking over! Bring me the Mauser!" 2 people, shown 20,000 times. Fear, a great motivator. Add in a built in racism and it's like gas on a fire. In most places it's, "If it bleeds, it leads.". In Augusta, any story with some kind of race angle wins out every time.

shrimp for breakfast
5503
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shrimp for breakfast 08/28/13 - 04:43 am
2
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It was a great speech

In fact the I have a dream part was totally ad-libbed. Dr King was one of the best orators that ever lived.

If he had given the Speech I Georgia would it have been called the King's Peach?
Just kidding.

shrimp for breakfast
5503
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shrimp for breakfast 08/28/13 - 04:53 am
4
6
soldout

Are you unable to comment on an article without bringing religion into it?
Not that there' anything wrong with that it's just that you make good points but then you say something about God or Sin and sometimes that takes away from what you're saying.
I don't mean to criticize it's just something I've noticed.

deestafford
30537
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deestafford 08/28/13 - 05:17 am
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Wonder why and when.

I wonder why the FBI files on Dr King have not been released as required by law and delayed for another 50 years.

As far as progress by the black culture? It has regressed and continues to do so...failing to take advantage of the educational opportunities available and maintain a family structure. In ways of education and family structure, black culture was stronger the 20 years before 1960 than the 20 years after and it is the black's fault...not that of "The Man".

deestafford
30537
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deestafford 08/28/13 - 05:21 am
7
5
Ain't it funny how the liberals think

that the blacks are too stupid and lazy to have a photo ID to vote yet one is required for nearly everything else? Talk about patronizing.

Riverman1
90855
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Riverman1 08/28/13 - 05:57 am
7
2
Blacks Coming to Conservatism

I'm noticing an influx of blacks coming around to conservatism. It's an affront to propose all blacks favor the socialism of the liberals. By the way I wonder how Dr. King would have handled communities where the whites are the minority such as Richmond County?

Bodhisattva
6850
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Bodhisattva 08/28/13 - 06:09 am
4
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The Chronicle, who on October

The Chronicle, who on October 25, 1962, printed an article containing FBI propaganda claiming Dr. King's "Acting Executive Director" was a member of the Communist Party, was no friend to Dr. King then and is no friend to his memory or legacy now. Attempting to blame the government for the ills of society is like blaming the fireman for the fire. Those that have taken so much out of society have a lot of gall blaming the government for helping those who have little to nothing. Media demagogues? Which side of the political spectrum?

Bodhisattva
6850
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Bodhisattva 08/28/13 - 06:14 am
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Projection.

Projection.

Riverman1
90855
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Riverman1 08/28/13 - 06:19 am
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The FBI did spy on MLK, but

The FBI did spy on MLK, but it was done under Democratic administrations.

Riverman1
90855
Points
Riverman1 08/28/13 - 06:23 am
7
1
The Fallacy

"Attempting to blame the government for the ills of society is like blaming the fireman for the fire."

The fallacy here is believing the government doesn't do wrong. It was the government in various forms that allowed segregation.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 06:36 am
10
5
King also dreamed of being
Unpublished

King also dreamed of being judged by the content of his character and NOT by the color of his skin, yet we STILL give preferences based on skin color for college admissions, job hiring and promotions, etc. Racism is alive indeed, but the victim has changed.

CobaltGeorge
170758
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CobaltGeorge 08/28/13 - 06:45 am
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"But The Victim Has Changed."

You spoke the truth there, Angela.

Gary Ross
3346
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Gary Ross 08/28/13 - 06:59 am
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Two objectives in King's speech

Jobs and human rights. There were more jobs available when King made this speech than there are now under this current administration, and human rights have turned into special treatment above the laws and a free living. How in the world can you call that a success? King would probably be angry at "his people" if he could see what has become of all his hard work and decication.

"How long should an entire race be told to sit on their dreams and be forced to pine, in vain, for basic human freedom?" Simple answer: Until they learn to become a productive part of society.

Gary Ross
3346
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Gary Ross 08/28/13 - 07:15 am
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4
50 year anniversary

There's another 50 year anniversary coming up in November. The assasination of our beloved John F. Kennedy. It will be interesting to see if the media gives as much coverage to JFK than it is to MLK! Probably not, because for the most part we have a racialy biased media. I think Kennedy's speeches were 10 times better than Kings because the content was for the whole country and not just a part of it.

seenitB4
93942
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seenitB4 08/28/13 - 07:37 am
6
2
What difference does it make now...heh

We are tearing down the USA one brick at the time....all the freedoms MLK worked for are tossed to the side like used cigars....The man was a genius in his words--cadence-tone-voice....he had the magic pill & he used it!
I would say very few white men can match him...maybe JFK at times, but few.

But, the youth today could care less about KIng or the precious rights he gained...just look at the news in the papers everyday...what do you see...killings--robbing --disrespect for women/family life...listen to their music....rubbish.

What we need is another great man...maybe someone like Ben Carson...someone to tell the youth the truth....life is not always easy & sometimes we have to deal with the cards we have.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 07:59 am
5
4
"Of course the non-racists,
Unpublished

"Of course the non-racists, in the non-racist states immediately began planning how they can make non-racist laws that block minorities' right to vote."

So Bod....there are racist states and non racist states. I suppose you can back up this accusation, or is it simply libel?

Here's your challenge. Cite ONE proposed new law that is designed to block minority votes, and back that accusation up with proof. I seriously doubt you can do it, since what you usually do is simply make up racist accusations and hope that no one questions them.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 08:09 am
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5
"It sells here in Augusta
Unpublished

"It sells here in Augusta because the people in Augusta and this area (CC and AC) ARE racist, white, uneducated, uncultured, and go to church on Sunday"

Bod....you DO know that it is a violation of rules of posting to make false, unsubstantiated claims? Not to mention your comments is simply not true, and highly offensive. Also, if you are one of the people living in the CSRA (I have no idea if you are) but if you are, then by your statement, YOU would be racist, white, uneducated, uncultured, etc...because what you did was a generalization....something I thought the enlightened liberals frowned on. I guess they only frown on it when someone ELSE does it...they clearly don't frown on hypocrisy.

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 08:11 am
3
4
The caucasian perswation

ANYONE that does not think that it was way past time for this speech; well; they are the ones that are blind to the FACT; YES; FACT that African-Americans had to literally FIGHT in the streets to demand equal rights under the law that was supposed to have been granted at the end of The U.S. Civil War!!!!

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 08:15 am
1
4
HARD truth to Ultra-conservatives

It may be a very harsh truth, BUT conservatives are not above making comments that are not true, EITHER!

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 08:16 am
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I have to laugh with pity
Unpublished

I have to laugh with pity when I read things like Specsta's post about "income inequality." The will be income equality when there is effort and ambition equality. It is absurd to assume that the income of a garbage collector should be the same as the income of an engineer. If that were the case, why would anyone waste hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of their life studying and working to get a degree? This is just further proof that socialism KILLS ambition. They seem to believe that no one can be happy until we are all equally miserable, and no one can prosper until we are all equally impoverished.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 08:18 am
5
4
Yes....minorities had to
Unpublished

Yes....minorities had to fight for equal rights, but they have them now.....AND THEN SOME! Can you name a right that a white person has that a black person does NOT have?

And if I'm the "ultra conservative" you are talking about, can you show a comment I made that was not true?

nocnoc
47475
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nocnoc 08/28/13 - 08:23 am
6
2
I have the upmost respect for Dr. King and support his Goal.

of 1 society, 1 community, afforded equal justice under the same laws.

It is those gutter crawlers that leech off his great work and goals in selfishness or the politicians that manipulate the movement for votes and power, that I have extreme contempt.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 08:23 am
5
2
"perswation?" jeez!
Unpublished

"perswation?" jeez!

Bizkit
34439
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Bizkit 08/28/13 - 08:25 am
3
1
Man I bet MLKjr would be

Man I bet MLKjr would be upset about violence in the black community and loss of family. After reading his Vietnam speech I'm convinced he wouldn't support progressives goal of more intrusive govt. -thanks Spec. Racism will always have some component as we see black, white, hispanics, and asians all have racist-and even educated people are racist, and it is a global problem. I think we need a day to celebrate Woman's suffrage too as they were the last to receive the right to vote and are still as oppressed as any race by the same standard.

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 08:31 am
1
4
Quote from editorial

"but that, for African-Americans, it had turned out to be a bad check marked “insufficient funds.”"

Perhaps this was the over-whelming reason for affirmative action! And if I am not mistaken, ALL of the governing bodies were made up of mostly caucasians, so how could African-Americans be blamed for the enforcing of affirmative action!

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 08:34 am
3
2
Who's blaming Blacks for
Unpublished

Who's blaming Blacks for enforcing affirmative action? Certainly not me. A racist policy and law is racist no matter who is enforcing it.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 08:35 am
1
2
Bizkit @ 9:31

"Gosh Bod is an angry bigot. Ad hominem isn't an argument. Kind of ironic to fight racism with bigotry and stereotypes. History has to be viewed through a cultural context too-which many fail to see"

Sometimes it takes fire to fight fire!

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