Wednesday, 28 August 2013

I Have a Dream


WARNING

Before you start to read this rather long article, let me advice that if you are not very patient or you are not such a good reader, you are better off not reading it. If you live in denial and can't handle the truth then this article is not for you.


  I was following the story of the 50 year anniversary of the march on the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC by Martin Luther King Jnr. where he gave one of the world's most popular speech.
Before the day of the anniversary I saw a documentary of a guy who was with Martin Luther king on that day, standing right behind him as he made the speech.  The man talked about their determination as young men, how bold and courageous they were even with the knowledge that they were not safe. They knew they would be stepping on the toes of very influential people and the state security but did not care about their safety. They went ahead to carry the weight of the black race on their shoulders knowing that there will be consequences for their revolt and protests against injustice and inequality.
 They did not know what the Outcome of their struggles would be at that time and did not know how the black race would turn out fifty years from that day. They were not sure about the future at that time but they knew they had a responsibility, they knew they were born to lead; they knew that it was a part of their purpose and destiny to fight for the rights of the black race. They wanted to fight for the rights of the people of color who were also citizens of the country through no fault of theirs. They did not ask for their forefathers to be dragged to America through slavery and now that they are here, you want them to remain as slaves from generation to generation even when the slave trade ended? Why?
 So now that they are here and have had all their children here and no one to start tracing their roots to know where they originally came from, where are they supposed to go when America is the only home they know?


I started thinking about the kind of fearlessness, boldness and determination to make a difference. To stand in front of hundreds of thousands to declare that even as a minority you still have rights and you are not afraid to stand for what you believe in.
That popular "I have a dream "speech is something that even our children are made to memorize and recite. But I wonder how many people have ever actually sat down to read that speech and really understand everything he was saying and preaching about. How many of us have thought about it as not just an inspirational speech but as a speech of revelation and evolution. How many of us even know what he said in the full speech? Most people start to read it from I HAVE A DREAM, not realizing that there were lots more. For the benefit of those who do not even know the speech or who do not know all that he said, I took the liberty of writing it out for you so you can understand where I am going.


Martin Luther King, Jr.

I Have a Dream

delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

“ I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

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 languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

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.

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 quicksand’s of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquillity in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvellous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And 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 one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

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 today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

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.

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

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.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my father’s 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.

And 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 snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes 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 molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and 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



These were not just wishes from a man who wanted to be noticed, they were visions and revelations that would cause evolution's and changes that would benefit the black race. He did not read the speech on paper anymore, he spoke from his heart.
He used the speech to also empower the people to continue the fight regardless of the opposition.
I saw some comments from some heavily retarded people who said he wasted his life for nothing because the black race is still struggling for equality and desegregation. How tremendously stupid can they be?
Do they not realize that it is not magic? Fights like this continue for years unto generations but the most important thing is that someone decided to start somehow for there to be something to continue. He did not start the fight on that podium; he didn't start the fight on the 28th of August 1963. He started in his home, as a person with a vision planted deeply in his heart, he started with a small group of people who believed in his vision and who were also tired of the injustice, he started in small venues even though they were disrupted and beaten by the police and other people, he continued even after they were humiliated, spat on, disgraced, and threatened. He kept pushing and going everywhere he could get to, television, radio, print, non violent rallies. As a result of this people could not help but pay attention to this black clergyman who was determined to give hope to the future of his kind.

He knew his life would be in danger, he had a wife and four children whom he knew were not safe as well but he believed that his existence was not about him but for the emancipation of the black race.
This reminded me so much of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for us to be free from sin. Jesus gave us our freedom and the more I thought about it the more I was convinced that God sent Martin Luther King Jnr. to stand up for the black race alongside other human rights activists.
This was not the only thing that caught my attention. There was something else that I never paid attention to before now which we all already knew. I sat down on the floor and started thinking about my own life and wondering if I had been playing my part as regards the purpose for which I was created. He was 34 years old when he went on the march and made the public speech.
Most people today who are at that age will not even come out to help a neighbour crying for help, most people at that age will not even come out of the car when they see two boys beating up a little girl on the side of the road, they will not even call the police for fear of questioning. Most of us will turn away and say "I try to mind my business please I don't want any trouble". When it comes to helping people, standing up for others, speaking the truth regardless, we are quick to MIND OUR OWN BUSINESS. But when it comes to gossip, scandal, controversy, envy, backbiting and the others, then we FORGET to MIND OUR OWN BUSINESS.

50 
years after, blacks can go to schools of their choice, they can eat in restaurants of their choice, they can be the biggest star on television and own the biggest studios, they can be the highest paid musician in the world, they can make Forbes list of the wealthiest and most influential, they can win the highest awards ever and they can now be THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. We must remember that someone sacrificed himself not just for his children but for every black man, woman and child to have a chance. Nobody can get up and say America is the same way it was 50 years ago. The battle is not over yet but the changes are as result of the struggles of these people who sacrificed everything for others to live free. He did this at 34.


For the rest of us, what are we standing up for if not our personal achievements? We fight for our families, career, our own children, our own houses, our own everything, SELF SELF SELF.
Here we are claiming we are better than those that lived before us, we are more intelligent, better technology, freedom, education. Yet at that age how many of us today can boldly say we are courageous enough to fight for the rights of our people. When somebody tries to do that, the person is immediately condemned and labelled an ATTENTION SEEKER.



So when we condemn everyone who tries, who will do the work? Who speak and who will stand? Who speak for the young girls given out for early marriage, who speak against communities who send their daughters out willingly for prostitution, who speak against a people that will  beat and burn four young men who had their future ahead of them, who will speak against those who are looting our money and cleaning out the nation's account while we stand and get distracted by who is driving who out of Lagos, who will speak against the high cost of petroleum products in an oil producing nation while we are blindly following the shameless fights between members of the national assembly? I can go on but what's the point?

My prayer for Nigeria is that one day we will open our eyes and see what we have allowed a few men to do to our children and their future, one day we will open our eyes and see that our nation is about to be sold of all in the name of agricultural and infrastructural development. One day we will be bold enough to say we have had enough and this time put our hearts into it TOGETHER.
Until then, good luck to you all.


May the soul of Martin Luther King Jnr. and the souls of all the human rights activists all over the world who were killed, rest in perfect peace.
Amen!

9 comments:

  1. AMEN!! Thumps up to you Stella Damascus. I pray God gives you more courage to carry on! #Bless you my role model!

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    1. " No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." I have a dream all these dreams will become reality in nigeria. I have a dream that put leaders will be true one with a genuine interest of the citizens at heart.

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  2. Nice write up hope God will see us thru in Jesus name Amen. Thanks my name sake

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  3. Four things you didn't know about Martin Luther King
    1. His name wasn't Martin Luther. It was Michael. It was decided Martin Luther had a more prominent ring to it, so he went by that. He never legally changed his name. To this day, he lived and died as Michael King.
    2. While working on his dissertation for his doctoral degree at Boston University, he heavily plagiarized from another author who had done research on a subject similar to King's. As academic committee later found that over half of King's work was plagiarized, yet would not revoke his doctrine. King was dead by this time, and the committee ruled that revoking the title would serve no purpose. It was also discovered that King's famous I HAVE A DREAM speech was also not his own. He stole it from a sermon by Archibald Carey,a popular black preacher in the 1950's.
    3. King was under FBI surveillance for several years (until he died) due to his ties with communist organizations throughout the country. King accepted money from the organizations to fund his movements. In return, King had to appoint communist leaders to run certain districts of his SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), who then could project their communist ideasto larger audiences. A federal judge in the 60's ruled that the FBI files on King links to communism to remain top-secret until 2027. Senator Jesse Helms appealed to the Supreme Court in 1983 to release the files, sothe correct bill in the Senate to create the Martin Luther King Federal Holiday could be abolished. He was denied.
    4. One of King's closest friends, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, wrote a book in 1989 in which he talked about King's obsession with white prostitutes. King would often use church donations to have drunken sex parties, where he would hire two to three white prostitutes, occasionally beating them brutally. This has also been reported by the FBI agents who monitored King. King was married with four children.
    Martin Luther King Day. A day when this country will come to a screeching halt so we can have parades and memorials to honor this man, a man that most of the world views as a saint for his role in the civil rights movement. No other public holiday in the United States honors a single individual. Of all the great leaders in our Nation's history-none of them have their own holiday. All of our great war heroes share Memorial Day. All of our great presidents share President's Day. Yet king — a man who was a phony, a cheater, a traitor, and a sexual degenerate gets a day of his own.

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    Replies
    1. I don't believe you at all,Oscar Obinna. Regards, Juls

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  4. THUMBS-UP STELLA!!!!!

    I ALSO HAVE A DREAM!!!!

    THAT ONE DAY NIGERIA WILL REGAIN HER LOST GLORY OF OCTOBER 1 1960 WHEN ANY PROMINENT NIGERIAN WERE RESPECTED ALL AROUND THE WORLD ESPECIALLY IN AMERICA AND UNITED KINGDOM.

    GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.

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  6. Stella sweetie thanks for the words of wisdom..i like the way yo write.Maybe you should try getting the message across on youtube(when you do) in a less aggressive tone.Its obvious you have stuff to be said and speak the truth.You need to get people to actually listen and pay attention.God bless

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