Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Could We March Today?

Someone brought MLK's March on Washington speech to me yesterday and with youthful earnestness asked "Could Americans march on Washington like that today?" Could we? Would we? It's a good question from a kid barely old enough to to be called a man.

This speech was given by Martin Luther King, Jr. at the march on Washington, DC, on August 28, 1963...

"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 languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have 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 unalienable 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 for all of God's children." MLK


Anonymous said...

"I wear my body like a caravan - gypsy rover in a magic land" - Incredible String Band.

If you can HEAR this, you can READ the circumstances and magic of the serendipity/Deja' Vu that surrounds you. Ready?

In 1835 the Libery Bell developed a crack while being rung. It was repaired. In 1846 it was rung again and developed the serious crack it is famous for today. Whadaya want - an omen? This event was soon followed by the bloodiest war in American History - the War Between The States (nothing "Civil" about it). It was about Free Determination Vs. Capitulation to the will of the Oligarchy. THAT is the best description I can give of real slavery. Free men lost that war. NOW COMES THE YEAR 2005, when another bit of serendipity struck - a large foot-square chunk of marble cornice mysteriously fell from the building housing our Supreme Court. ---------- Are you paying attention? ------ Whadaya want - an omen?

Ron Wortham

Mariah Fleming said...

Guess you could say some people are busy looking for OMENS. The others are busy looking for an AMENS. (o:
As Riopelle said on his first album "Expect a miracle."
Maybe if we all click our heels three times...