I love Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I have the luxury of being forgetful… and without a regular reminder, I would easily forget just how profound was the life of Dr. King. No, he was not perfect; but his life and message are challenging and his courage is inspiring. Below is a re-post from 2009, a selection of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. It still quickens my heart.
Today we remember the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. I am always inspired by Dr. King’s speeches. I’ve posted the end of his famous “I Have A Dream” speech below. Read the entire speech HERE (the audio version is also available via the link).
Reading this speech (King’s passion for justice and reconciliation) brings two sets of questions to my mind: First, as a society, how are we doing? Are we any closer today than in King’s day to realizing the dream of racial justice? Secondly, inspired by King’s courage and drive, I must ask: What is my dream? What am I willing to fight for, to be jailed for, or even to give my life for? And then… What am I doing to see this dream out?
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 with which I return to the South. 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 when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a 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 peaks of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let 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!”
What is your dream? How has Dr. King inspired you?