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We Still Have a Dream

Martin Luther King Day is one of my favorite holidays. Rather than celebrating some distant event this holiday honors the work not just of one man but of a movement for justice and equality that is still trying to help us realize the American Dream.

If you’ve never listened to King’s I Have a Dream speech in full I encourage you to do so. It is a marvel of American rhetoric that really must be heard in full to be appreciated.

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In a sense we’ve 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. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

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