I Have a Dream – Address at March on Washington
August 28, 1963. Washington, D.C.
I have a dream that my four 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.
What would Dr. King have to say about us as people today? Have we learned to accept one another as individuals not by race or creed or religion?
Are we doing all we can to work together to make this a better country?
What are we teaching our children?
There was a time when the church was very powerful—in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society…..But the judgment of God is upon the church [today] as never before.If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the 20th century. -Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them. – Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967.
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important. – Wall Street Journal, November 13, 1962.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction….The chain reaction of evil–hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars–must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. – Strength To Love, 1963.
Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority. Strength to Love, 1963.
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. – Strength To Love, 1963.
The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority. – Strength to Love, 1963.
Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love. – Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.
Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten….America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness–justice. – Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.
Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy. – The Measures of Man, 1959.
A good many observers have remarked that if equality could come at once the Negro would not be ready for it. I submit that the white American is even more unprepared. – Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.
To be a Negro in America is to hope against hope. – Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.
Being a Negro in America means trying to smile when you want to cry. It means trying to hold on to physical life amid psychological death. It means the pain of watching your children grow up with clouds of inferiority in their mental skies. It means having your legs cut off, and then being condemned for being a cripple. It means seeing your mother and father spiritually murdered by the slings and arrows of daily exploitation, and then being hated for being an orphan. – Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.