AUG. 28, 1963

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history
as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow
we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclaimation.  This
momentous decree came as a great beacon of hope to millions of
slaves, who had been seared in the flames of whithering
injustice.  It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of
their captivity.  But one hundered years later, the colored
America is still not free.  One hundred years later, the life of
the colored American is still sadly crippled by the manacle of
segregation and the chains of discrimination.

One hundred years later, the colored American lives on a lonely
island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material
prosperity.  One hundred years later, the colored American is
still languishing in the corners of American society and finds
himself an exile in his own land  So we have come here today to
dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our Nation's Capital to cash a check.
When the architects of our great republic wrote the magnificent
words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,
they were signing a promissory note to which every Anerican was
to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as
white men, would be guaranteed to the inalienable rights of life
liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory
note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.  Instead of
honoring this sacred obligation, America has given its colored
people a bad check, a check that has come back marked 
"insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.
We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the
great vaults of opportunity of this nation.  So we have come to
cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches
of freedom and security of justice.

We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the
fierce urgency of Now.  This is not 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 promise of democracy.

Now it the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of
segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.

Now it the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial
injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

Now is the time to make justice a reality to all of God's

I would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the
moment and to underestimate the determination of it's colored
citizens.  This sweltering summer of the colored people's
legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an
invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.  Nineteen
sixty-three is not an end but a beginning.  Those who hope that
the colored Americans 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
colored citizen 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.

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 colored person's basic
mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of
their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "for
white only."

We cannot be satisfied as long as a colored person in Mississippi
cannot vote and a colored person in New York believes he has
nothing for which to vote.

No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until
justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of your
trials and tribulations.  Some of you have come from areas where
your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of
persecutions and staggered by the winds of police brutality.

You have been the veterans of creative suffering.  Continue to
work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South
Carolina go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the
slums and ghettos of our modern cities, knowing that somehow this
situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of dispair.  I say to you, my
friends, we have the difficulties of today and tommorrow.

I still have a dream.  It is a dream deeply rooted in the
American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out
the true meaning of its creed.  We hold thise truths to be
self-evident that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day out in the red hills of Georgia the
sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be
able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a
state sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed
into an oasis of freedom and justice.

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 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 interpostion and nullification; that one day right down
in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join
hands with little white boys and white girls as s)fYers and

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be engulfed,
every hill shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low,
the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will
be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and
all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope.  This is the faith that I will go back to the
South with.  With this faith we will be able to hew out of the
mountain of despair a stone of hope.

With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling
discords of our nation into a beautiful symphomy of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray
together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to climb
up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to
sing with new meaning "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of
liberty, of thee I sing.  Land where my father's died, land of
the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
So let freedom ring from the hilltops of New Hampshire.  Let
freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvacious slopes of California.

But not only that, let freedom, ring from Stone Mountain of

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi and
every mountainside.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every
tenement 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 spiritual, "Free at last, free at last.  Thank God
Almighty, we are free at last."


Prepared by Gerald Murphy (The Cleveland Free-Net - aa300)
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