I not too long ago posted about the famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech by the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I mentioned in that post that the speech given by Dr. King was titled ‘Normalcy No More’ and the ‘I have a Dream’ portion was discussed or conveyed by Dr. King on a request from a women who shouted, “Tell (‘em) them about the dream Martin.” Now some of you may think that I am making a big ado about nothing. Why am I making a big deal about something so small and insignificant that took place 50 years ago?
Well, I say to you that this is a very significant point of view. There was an event that history disregards, maybe by design; this event which I speak of, lead up to the ‘March on Washington’. It was there at this event in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote and spoke his dream speech. There is a different in some of what he said on both days, the version of his dream he gave in Washington, DC was toned down and all inclusive. This is where I will begin my blogging purpose. It will be a series called ‘From Jim Crow to Stop-N-Frisk’.
I will be blogging a series of speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and will tackle the question of what, if anything has changed from the 1950’s up until today? I am looking forward to that, but in the meantime let’s take a look back at a very important event that is not mentioned.
I was always told in college not to use Wikipedia as a research source on any of my papers, well I am going to break that rule right now.
Cobo Center is a major convention center situated along Jefferson and Washington avenues in downtown Detroit. It was named for Albert E. Cobo, mayor of Detroit from 1950 to 1957. Designed by Gino Rossetti, the center opened in 1960.
The Center and its attached arena initially cost $56 million and took four years to complete. It is located on the site where Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, a French colonist, first set foot and landed on the banks of the river in July 1701 and claimed the area for France in the name of King Louis XIV.
As one of the nation’s first mega convention centers, Cobo became even larger when renovations and expansions were completed in 1989. At a cost of $225 million, it nearly doubled in size to 2.4 million total square feet and was renamed Cobo Conference/Exhibition Center. Now, the Center offers 723,000 square feet of prime exhibit space in five exhibit halls ranging in size from 100,000 to 200,000 square feet. Cobo’s flexible design allows the adjoining four exhibit halls on the main floor to form 623,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space.
The first convention at Cobo Center was held in 1960 by the Florist Telegraph Delivery (FTD). The first event was the 43rd Auto Industry Dinner on October 17, 1960. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the keynote speaker, and the ceremony aired live on WXYZ-TV.
Since 1965, the largest event held in Cobo Center is the nation’s premier automobile show, The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), occurring annually in January. This prestigious event draws hundreds of international press and suppliers during its initial five days and has a spectacular charity preview party for 11,000 guests the evening before the public opening. [Cite: Detroit Free Press 2013] Since 1976, the Charity Preview has raised an average of $2.4 million yearly for southeastern Michigan children’s charities. After the Charity Preview party, the NAIAS is open to the public for ten days, drawing, on average, 735,000 attendees.[Cite: WXYZ Channel 7 2013]
I guess you are now wondering what does this have to do with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. This has everything to do with it. Notice that Cobo Hall opened in 1960 and if you was to Google historical events at Cobo Hall you would not find much, but buried deep in the many threads that will come up is this one, the one event I am speaking about;
1. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
This is the speech, delivered at the 1963 March on Washington that made Martin Luther King, Jr. a national icon. But he delivered it first about six weeks before in Detroit. It was released as a single on Motown Records, entitled, “The Great March to Freedom.”
Yes folks, and that woman was there and she knew all about Dr. King’s dream of a new America. That woman was none other than Mahalia Jackson. It is important because this event was a part of the Civil Rights Movement.
The march in Detroit, commonly known as “The Walk to Freedom,” occurred on June 23rd, 1963. Thousands of civil rights activists marched through Detroit singing and demanding the end of segregation. MLK then delivered a speech at Cobo Hall stressing that it was their duty to take part in the walk to freedom and participate in other demonstrations in order to end the era of racism and inequality.
So here it is folks. Enjoy.
The Walk to Freedom was a Civil Rights March that took place on June 23, 1963 in Detroit, Michigan. It drew crowds of an estimated 125,000 or more and was for a short time described as “the largest civil rights demonstration in the nation’s history.” Only two months later on August 28, the March on Washington took place completely overshadowing whatever attention the Walk to Freedom had received in those two months. The Detroit Walk to Freedom has been somewhat lost to obscurity outside of local Detroit history.
Various ministers and leaders of local and national organizations including the Mayor of Detroit were in attendance and gave speeches. Among them was Martin Luther King Jr. who after the Walk to Freedom March gave an impassioned speech. It was a precursor to his famous “I Have a Dream” speech given weeks later in Washington, D.C. The march itself was, to King and his supporters, partly a practice run of the March on Washington.
Reverend Clarence L. Franklin and Reverend Albert Cleage were Civil Rights leaders who, although they had very different viewpoints and methods of tackling injustice, came together and proposed the idea of having a large march or demonstration in Detroit. Together along with other organizers, they formed the Detroit Council for Human Rights which would be the organization that would actually put on the Walk to Freedom march. Cleage originally wanted the march to be all black and led by backs only; however, the local Detroit branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was prepared to not support the march and even boycott it if the DCHR did not include some local white leaders in the march. Although the march was open to all, the vast majority that came to the march were African-American, but there were several prominent whites, such as the Mayor of Detroit Jerome Cavanagh, who joined in leading the march or otherwise showed their support.
The Walk to Freedom had two main purposes. The first and main purpose of the march “… was to speak out against segregation and the brutality that met civil rights activists in the South while at the same time addressing concerns of African Americans in the urban North: inequality in hiring practices, wages, education, and housing.”. The second purpose of the march was to raise funds and awareness for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which was an organization that did civil rights work in the south. The date that was picked to be when the march would take place, June 23, was to honor the 20th anniversary of The Detroit Race Riot that had happened in 1943 in which over two dozen people were killed and many more injured.
Many prominent people, known locally and nationally, lead the Walk to Freedom. From the Detroit Council for Human Rights: Rev. C. L. Franklin, father of famous singer Aretha Franklin and was chairman of the DCHR; Rev. Albert Cleage, who was a part of forming the DCHR; and Benjamin McFall, director of the DCHR. The former Governor of Michigan John Swainson, who was governor from 1961-1962, joined with the Mayor of Detroit Jerome Cavanaugh, and Martin Luther King Jr.. Also leading the march was the president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Walter Reuther; Billie S. Farnum, who was the State Auditor General. George Romney, then current Governor of Michigan, was unable to attend the march because it took place on a Sunday and conflicted with his religious practices; however, since Romney fully supported the march and the cause, he sent representatives to walk in his place.
To generate interest in the Walk to Freedom, stickers, handbills, and other advertisements were spread around the city by event planners. The march itself started, at about 3pm in the afternoon, on Woodward Avenue and Adelaide, it continued on Woodward, and then onto Jefferson and concluded at Cobo Arena and Hall. Songs were sung, such as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, and people carried banners and signs. The whole march only lasted about an hour and a half, but afterwards there were speeches given. At least 125,000 people participated in the march and tens of thousands packed into Cobo Arena and the surrounding area to listen to the speeches.
Many of the leaders of the march gave speeches. Albert Cleage, Walter Reuther, Mayor Cavanagh, former Governor Swainson, Congressman Charles Diggs, a representative of Governor Romney, Martin Luther King Jr., and others all gave speeches to the eager crowds. The speech spectators were looking forward to the most however was the one given by Martin Luther King Jr., and he obliged them by giving a speech that was as riveting as his speeches always were.
Some parts of his Detroit speech are similar to the one he gave in Washington. In particular, the end of his speech was a longer and more detailed version of the legendary “I Have a Dream” portion of his speech given two months later in Washington.
For comparison certain parts of both speeches are alternated below, given on the left is the speech in Detroit at the Walk to Freedom, and given on the right is the speech in Washington.
|“Almost one hundred and one years ago, on September the 22nd, 1862, to be exact, a great and noble American, Abraham Lincoln, signed an executive order, which was to take effect on January the first, 1863. This executive order was called the Emancipation Proclamation and it served to free the Negro from the bondage of physical slavery. But one hundred years later, the Negro in the United States of America still isn’t free.”||“Fivescore years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation […] 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.”|
|“And so we must say, now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to transform this pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our nation. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of racial justice.”||“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 quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.”|
|“And so this afternoon, I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream […] I have a dream that one day, right down in Georgia and Mississippi and Alabama, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to live together as brothers. I have a dream this afternoon that one day, one day little white children and little Negro children will be able to join hands as brothers and sisters […] I have a dream this afternoon that my four little children, that my four little children will not come up in the same young days that I came up within, but they will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not the color of their skin… I have a dream this evening that one day we will recognize the words of Jefferson that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and “every valley shall be exalted, and every hill shall be made low; the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough places plain; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” […] And with this faith I will go out and carve a tunnel of hope through the mountain of despair. With this faith, I will go out with you and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. With this faith, we will be able to achieve this new 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 with the Negroes in the spiritual of old: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!”||“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 be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. 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 that one day “every valley shall be exalted, and 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.” […] 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… 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!”|
Governor George Romney officially had the day of the Walk to Freedom declared “Freedom March Day in Michigan”. There are several different variations of the title “Walk to Freedom” that have been used. Locally in Detroit, it has been known by the title, King’s Walk on Woodward, and the Great March. Other variations of the title that have been used include, Walk to Freedom March, Great March/Walk to Freedom, Walk for/to Freedom, Detroit Freedom Walk/March, and Great March on Detroit.
Although Governor Romney had sent representatives in his place to march in the Walk to Freedom, he wanted to do more than that. A few days after the march, he joined a group of hundreds through Grosse Pointe, a wealthy suburb of Detroit, to advocate for civil rights. He was also involved with other marches, rallies, and demonstrations in Michigan and knew Martin Luther King well. The Walk to Freedom, however, did not have the huge impact on Detroit and on civil rights that the March on Washington had and the Detroit Council for Human Rights (DCHR) did not last. The DCHR tried to start up a Northern Christian Leadership Conference as a companion to the SCLC, but disagreements, particularly between Franklin and Cleage, kept the idea from becoming a permanent reality. Albert Cleage eventually left the DCHR and it seems that other differences and disagreements caused the DCHR to dissolve.
Speech at the Great March on Detroit
23 June 1963
Two months before the March on Washington, King stood before a throng of 25,000 people at Cobo Hall in Detroit to expound upon making “the American Dream a reality”. King repeatedly exclaimed, “I have a dream this afternoon”. He articulated the words of the prophets Amos and Isaiah, declaring that “justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream,” for “every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low”. As he had done numerous times in the previous two years, King concluded his message imagining the 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 with the Negroes in the spiritual of old: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”.
My good friend, the Reverend C. L. Franklin, all of the officers and members of the Detroit Council of Human Rights, distinguished platform guests, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot begin to say to you this afternoon how thrilled I am, and I cannot begin to tell you the deep joy that comes to my heart as I participate with you in what I consider the largest and greatest demonstration for freedom ever held in the United States. [Applause] And I can assure you that what has been done here today will serve as a source of inspiration for all of the freedom-loving people of this nation. [Applause] [Audience:] (All right)
I think there is something else that must be said because it is a magnificent demonstration of discipline. With all of the thousands and hundreds of thousands of people engaged in this demonstration today, there has not been one reported incident of violence. [Applause] I think this is a magnificent demonstration of our commitment to nonviolence in this struggle for freedom all over the United States, and I want to commend the leadership of this community for making this great event possible and making such a great event possible through such disciplined channels. [Applause]
Almost one hundred and one years ago, on September the 22nd, 1862, to be exact, a great and noble American, Abraham Lincoln, signed an executive order, which was to take effect on January the first, 1863. This executive order was called the Emancipation Proclamation and it served to free the Negro from the bondage of physical slavery. But one hundred years later, the Negro in the United States of America still isn’t free. [Applause]
But now more than ever before, America is forced to grapple with this problem, for the shape of the world today does not afford us the luxury of an anemic democracy. The price that this nation must pay for the continued oppression and exploitation of the Negro or any other minority group is the price of its own destruction. For the hour is late. The clock of destiny is ticking out, and we must act now before it is too late. (Yeah) [Applause]
The events of Birmingham, Alabama, and the more than sixty communities that have started protest movements since Birmingham, are indicative of the fact that the Negro is now determined to be free. (Yeah) [Applause] For Birmingham tells us something in glaring terms. It says first that the Negro is no longer willing to accept racial segregation in any of its dimensions. [Applause] For we have come to see that segregation is not only sociologically untenable, it is not only politically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Segregation is a cancer in the body politic, which must be removed before our democratic health can be realized. [Applause] (Yeah) Segregation is wrong because it is nothing but a new form of slavery covered up with certain niceties of complexity. [Applause] Segregation is wrong because it is a system of adultery perpetuated by an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality. [Applause] And in Birmingham, Alabama, and all over the South and all over the nation, we are simply saying that we will no longer sell our birthright of freedom for a mess of segregated pottage. [Applause] (All right) In a real sense, we are through with segregation now, henceforth, and forevermore. [Sustained applause]
Now Birmingham and the freedom struggle tell us something else. They reveal to us that the Negro has a new sense of dignity and a new sense of self-respect. (Yes) For years— (That’s right. Come a long way) [Applause] I think we all will agree that probably the most damaging effect of segregation has been what it has done to the soul of the segregated as well as the segregator. [Applause] It has given the segregator a false sense of superiority and it has left the segregated with a false sense of inferiority. (All right) [Applause] And so because of the legacy of slavery and segregation, many Negroes lost faith in themselves and many felt that they were inferior.
But then something happened to the Negro. Circumstances made it possible and necessary for him to travel more: the coming of the automobile, the upheavals of two world wars, the Great Depression. And so his rural, plantation background gradually gave way to urban, industrial life. And even his economic life was rising through the growth of industry, the influence of organized labor, expanded educational opportunities. And even his cultural life was rising through the steady decline of crippling illiteracy. And all of these forces conjoined to cause the Negro to take a new look at himself. Negro masses, [Applause] Negro masses all over began to re-evaluate themselves, and the Negro came to feel that he was somebody. His religion revealed to him, [Laughter. Applause] his religion revealed to him that God loves all of his children, and that all men are made in His image, and that figuratively speaking, every man from a bass-black to a treble-white is significant on God’s keyboard. [Applause]
So, the Negro can now unconsciously cry out with the eloquent poet,
Fleecy locks and black complexion
Cannot forfeit nature’s claim.
Skin may differ, but affection
Dwells in black and white the same.
Were I so tall as to reach the pole
Or to grasp at the ocean at a span,
I must be measured by my soul
The mind is the standard of the man. [Applause]
But these events that are taking place in our nation tell us something else. They tell us that the Negro and his allies in the white community now recognize the urgency of the moment. I know we have heard a lot of cries saying, “Slow up and cool off.” [Laughter] We still hear these cries. They are telling us over and over again that you’re pushing things too fast, and so they’re saying, “Cool off.” Well, the only answer that we can give to that is that we’ve cooled off all too long, and that is the danger. [Applause] There’s always the danger if you cool off too much that you will end up in a deep freeze. [Applause] “Well,” they’re saying, “you need to put on brakes.” The only answer that we can give to that is that the motor’s now cranked up and we’re moving up the highway of freedom toward the city of equality, [Applause] and we can’t afford to stop now because our nation has a date with destiny. We must keep moving.
Then there is another cry. They say, “Why don’t you do it in a gradual manner?” Well, gradualism is little more than escapism and do-nothingism, which ends up in stand-stillism. [Applause] We know that our brothers and sisters in Africa and Asia are moving with jet-like speed toward the goal of political independence. And in some communities we are still moving at horse-and-buggy pace toward the gaining of a hamburger and a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. [Applause]
And so we must say, now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to transform this pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our nation. [Applause] Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of racial justice. Now is the time to get rid of segregation and discrimination. Now is the time. [Applause] (Now. Now)
And so this social revolution taking place can be summarized in three little words. They are not big words. One does not need an extensive vocabulary to understand them. They are the words “all,” “here,” and “now.” We want all of our rights, we want them here, and we want them now. [Applause] [Recording interrupted]
Now the other thing that we must see about this struggle is that by and large it has been a nonviolent struggle. Let nobody make you feel that those who are engaged or who are engaging in the demonstrations in communities all across the South are resorting to violence; these are few in number. For we’ve come to see the power of nonviolence. We’ve come to see that this method is not a weak method, for it’s the strong man who can stand up amid opposition, who can stand up amid violence being inflicted upon him and not retaliate with violence. (Yeah) [Applause]
You see, this method has a way of disarming the opponent. It exposes his moral defenses. It weakens his morale, and at the same time it works on his conscience, and he just doesn’t know what to do. If he doesn’t beat you, wonderful. If he beats you, you develop the quiet courage of accepting blows without retaliating. If he doesn’t put you in jail, wonderful. Nobody with any sense likes to go to jail. But if he puts you in jail, you go in that jail and transform it from a dungeon of shame to a haven of freedom and human dignity. [Applause] And even if he tries to kill you, (He can’t kill you) you’ll develop the inner conviction that there are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they are worth dying for. (Yes) [Applause] And I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live. [Applause]
This method has wrought wonders. As a result of the nonviolent Freedom Ride movement, segregation in public transportation has almost passed away absolutely in the South. As a result of the sit-in movement at lunch counters, more than 285 cities have now integrated their lunch counters in the South. I say to you, there is power in this method. [Applause]
And I think by following this approach it will also help us to go into the new age that is emerging with the right attitude. For nonviolence not only calls upon its adherents to avoid external physical violence, but it calls upon them to avoid internal violence of spirit. It calls on them to engage in that something called love. And I know it is difficult sometimes. When I say “love” at this point, I’m not talking about an affectionate emotion. (All right) It’s nonsense to urge people, oppressed people, to love their oppressors in an affectionate sense. I’m talking about something much deeper. I’m talking about a sort of understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. [Applause]
We are coming to see now, the psychiatrists are saying to us, that many of the strange things that happen in the subconscience, many of the inner conflicts, are rooted in hate. And so they are saying, “Love or perish.” But Jesus told us this a long time ago. And I can still hear that voice crying through the vista of time, saying, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.” And there is still a voice saying to every potential Peter, “Put up your sword.” History is replete with the bleached bones of nations, history is cluttered with the wreckage of communities that failed to follow this command. And isn’t it marvelous to have a method of struggle where it is possible to stand up against an unjust system, fight it with all of your might, never accept it, and yet not stoop to violence and hatred in the process? This is what we have. [Applause]
Now there is a magnificent new militancy within the Negro community all across this nation. And I welcome this as a marvelous development. The Negro of America is saying he’s determined to be free and he is militant enough to stand up. But this new militancy must not lead us to the position of distrusting every white person who lives in the United States. There are some white people in this country who are as determined to see the Negro free as we are to be free. [Applause] This new militancy must be kept within understanding boundaries.
And then another thing I can understand. We’ve been pushed around so long; we’ve been the victims of lynching mobs so long; we’ve been the victims of economic injustice so long—still the last hired and the first fired all over this nation. And I know the temptation. I can understand from a psychological point of view why some caught up in the clutches of the injustices surrounding them almost respond with bitterness and come to the conclusion that the problem can’t be solved within, and they talk about getting away from it in terms of racial separation. But even though I can understand it psychologically, I must say to you this afternoon that this isn’t the way. Black supremacy is as dangerous as white supremacy. [Applause] No, I hope you will allow me to say to you this afternoon that God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men and brown men and yellow men. God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race. [Applause] And I believe that with this philosophy and this determined struggle we will be able to go on in the days ahead and transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
As I move toward my conclusion, you’re asking, I’m sure, “What can we do here in Detroit to help in the struggle in the South?” Well, there are several things that you can do. One of them you’ve done already, and I hope you will do it in even greater dimensions before we leave this meeting. [Recording interrupted]
Now the second thing that you can do to help us down in Alabama and Mississippi and all over the South is to work with determination to get rid of any segregation and discrimination in Detroit, [Applause] realizing that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And we’ve got to come to see that the problem of racial injustice is a national problem. No community in this country can boast of clean hands in the area of brotherhood. Now in the North it’s different in that it doesn’t have the legal sanction that it has in the South. But it has its subtle and hidden forms and it exists in three areas: in the area of employment discrimination, in the area of housing discrimination, and in the area of de facto segregation in the public schools. And we must come to see that de facto segregation in the North is just as injurious as the actual segregation in the South. [Applause] And so if you want to help us in Alabama and Mississippi and over the South, do all that you can to get rid of the problem here.
And then we also need your support in order to get the civil rights bill that the President is offering passed. And there’s a reality, let’s not fool ourselves: this bill isn’t going to get through if we don’t put some work in it and some determined pressure. And this is why I’ve said that in order to get this bill through, we’ve got to arouse the conscience of the nation, and we ought to march to Washington more than 100,000 in order to say, [Applause] in order to say that we are determined, and in order to engage in a nonviolent protest to keep this issue before the conscience of the nation.
And if we will do this we will be able to bring that new day of freedom into being. If we will do this we will be able to make the American dream a reality. And I do not want to give you the impression that it’s going to be easy. There can be no great social gain without individual pain. And before the victory for brotherhood is won, some will have to get scarred up a bit. Before the victory is won, some more will be thrown into jail. Before the victory is won, some, like Medgar Evers, may have to face physical death. But if physical death is the price that some must pay to free their children and their white brothers from an eternal psychological death, then nothing can be more redemptive. Before the victory is won, some will be misunderstood and called bad names, but we must go on with a determination and with a faith that this problem can be solved. (Yeah) [Applause]
And so I go back to the South not in despair. I go back to the South not with a feeling that we are caught in a dark dungeon that will never lead to a way out. I go back believing that the new day is coming. And so this afternoon, I have a dream. (Go ahead) It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day, right down in Georgia and Mississippi and Alabama, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to live together as brothers.
I have a dream this afternoon (I have a dream) that one day, [Applause] one day little white children and little Negro children will be able to join hands as brothers and sisters.
I have a dream this afternoon that one day, [Applause] that one day men will no longer burn down houses and the church of God simply because people want to be free.
I have a dream this afternoon (I have a dream) that there will be a day that we will no longer face the atrocities that Emmett Till had to face or Medgar Evers had to face, that all men can live with dignity.
I have a dream this afternoon (Yeah) that my four little children, that my four little children will not come up in the same young days that I came up within, but they will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not the color of their skin. [Applause]
I have a dream this afternoon that one day right here in Detroit, Negroes will be able to buy a house or rent a house anywhere that their money will carry them and they will be able to get a job. [Applause] (That’s right)
Yes, I have a dream this afternoon that one day in this land the words of Amos will become real and “justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
I have a dream this evening that one day we will recognize the words of Jefferson that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” I have a dream this afternoon. [Applause]
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and “every valley shall be exalted, and every hill shall be made low; the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough places plain; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” [Applause]
I have a dream this afternoon that the brotherhood of man will become a reality in this day.
And with this faith I will go out and carve a tunnel of hope through the mountain of despair. With this faith, I will go out with you and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. With this faith, we will be able to achieve this new 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 with the Negroes in the spiritual of old:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God almighty, we are free at last! [Applause]