Jan 162012
 

16kingMartin Luther King, Jr. influenced my political thinking more than any other individual.  I was fortunate to have worked under him on Vietnam Summer and to have been present at two of his greatest speeches, presented below.  Many things have changed since those days.  Northern Republicans were often progressive.  Southern Democrats, aka Dixiecrats,  were the biggest racists then, but they deserted the Democratic Party because of Dr. King’s successes and are now the Republican base.  But both his Dream and the need for his opposition to wars of aggression remain.  To celebrate his life, I have video of “I Have a Dream”, delivered in Washington Mall on August 28, 1963 and audio of “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”, delivered in New York on April 4, 1967.

I Have a Dream Text

 

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence – Text

 

The dream still lives.  Keeping it alive is our responsibility.

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  16 Responses to “Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

  1. We actually have legendary Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson to thank for  King’s “I Have a Dream” speech:

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had originally prepared a short and somewhat formal recitation of the sufferings of African Americans attempting to realize their freedom in a society chained by discrimination. He was about to sit down when gospel singer Mahalia Jackson called out, “Tell them about your dream, Martin! Tell them about the dream!” Encouraged by shouts from the audience, King drew upon some of his past talks, and the result became the landmark statement of civil rights in America.

    And Civil Rights activist and author Roger Wilkins wryly noted, “If Mahalia, with that voice, told you to do something, you did it!”

    • Thanks Nameless.  I was back far enough in the crown that I did not hear Mahalia and did not learn of this until years later.  But I was wearing that very button.

  2. What a great anecdote about Mahalia Jackson and King.  I will remember this.

    And what a beautiful tribute to King, Tomcat.  Thank you.

  3. Thanks Tom. I didn’t realize Mahalia Jackson was the reason for the speech.

  4. ” To celebrate his life, I have video of “I Have a Dream”, delivered in Washington Mall on August 28, 1963 and audio of “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”, delivered in New York on April 4, 1967.”

    Thank you,

  5. You really had a privilege to witness him talk– Thank you  for sharing that lovely bit about Mahalia Jackson

  6. I love the “I have a dream” speech – it makes me cry every time I hear it for 2 reasons – we are not far enough along for Dr. King’s dream to be fulfilled and 2) because he so deeply cared about his fellow citizens both black and white.  He had such charisma on that stage!

    • You hit an excellent point, Lisa.  There were both black and white on the steering committee for Vietnam Summer, and he treated us the same.

  7. I watched Mahalia ask him to do that! I was 15 and somehow insisted that the family listen to him speak as well – I was the only liberal in the family even then – now all my brothers have joined the ranks (including the one who wouldn’t speak to me for yrs. after serving in Nam – while I was protesting – although I never took it out on the soldiers as some did, but remember those of us who didn’t serve then also paid a price) – it’s so disappointing that nearly 50 yrs. later we’re still demonstrating for the same things, racism, miltarism and economic inequalities, and it’s now my generation that has perpetrated this crap on us 10 x’s worse! – MLK jr. must be freaking out –  especially with our first black president diminishing the value of equality and supporting (although less than his cohorts the GOP) the inequity of the class system in this country – what a disappointment!

    • Lee, watching on TV it’s interesting that you knew better what was going on than I did there in person.

      After such an excellent comment, it’s a shame that you ruined it by going off topic to create an excuse to bash Obama.  Shame on you!

      There are ample articles here involving Obama and there is an open thread daily that people can use for their own topics.  Please show some courtesy to others here.

  8. My two favourite parts of King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

    “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.” ”

    “. . . 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!””

    I can still feel the passion of King’s final words.  When I first heard them, I shook with the passion, and that hasn’t changed.  I was 11 years old at the time.

    I agree with Lisa.  “. . . we are not far enough along for Dr. King’s dream to be fulfilled and 2) because he so deeply cared about his fellow citizens both black and white. ”  The current Republican/Teabaggers and their hate, would set back American civil rights a hundred years were they to come to office.