Here is the famous 'I Have a Dream' speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963. I'm posting this speech because I believe that a lot of what was said here is spiritually prophetic and applies to every person regardless of race. One day we will all be able to exclaim,
'Thank God, I'm Free at Last.'

Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in 
Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963

A. Philip Randolph:  I have the pleasure to present to you, 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!

Martin Luther King, Jr.:  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 nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic 
shadow we stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. 
This momentous 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 daybreak 
to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, 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 languished in the corners of American 
society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So 
we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've 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 
which every American was to fall heir. This note was a 
promise that all men, yes, Black men as well as white men 
would be guaranteed 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 the Negro people a bad check, a check 
which 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 the security of justice. We have 
also come to this hallowed spot to remind America 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 quick 
sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.  
Now is the time to make justice a reality all of God's 

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of 
the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro'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 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 
of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who 
stand on the warm threshold, which 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 
bitters and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high planes 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 militancy 
which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to 
a 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 ours. 
They have come to realize their freedom is inextricably 
bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always 
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 submitted(??) with all 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 a Negro in 
Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro 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 stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of 
great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh 
from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas 
where your quest for 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. 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 ghettoes of our northern cities, 
knowing that somehow this situation can and will be 
changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the 
difficulties of today and tomorrow, 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 these 
truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the 
sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners 
will they be able to sit down together at a table of 

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, 
a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, 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 the content of 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 interposition and nullification.  One day 
right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls 
will be able to join hands with little white boys and white 
girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, 
every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places 
will be made plain, 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 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 symphony of brotherhood. With this 
faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, 
to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up 
for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the 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 fathers 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 prodigious hilltops of 
New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains 
of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening 
Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

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

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of 

From every mountainside, let freedom ring and when this 
happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring 
from every village 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 Negro spiritual: 
"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are 
free at last!"

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