Sunday, January 20, 2008

In Memorium: Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968

Martin Luther King was one of the great men of American history. It was almost a century after this country had fought a bitter civil war largely animated by the question of slavery, and near a century after Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclomation that Rev. King led the March on Washington. There, he made a speech that has reverberated through the pages of our nation's history ever since:

And here is the text of that speech, made available from the website American Rhetoric:

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 quicksands 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 tranquility 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 marvelous 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 a sign 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."²

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 fathers 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, 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!

Update: One wonders if, like Abraham Lincoln before him, had not Martin Luther King been assassinated, whether the history of our nation might not have turned out much differently. Lincoln's assassination resulted in the a decades long punishment of the South by law makers in Washington - something which Lincoln himself opposed. For his part, King sought to achieve equality. But after his assassination, what has emerged is a theme of destructive identity politics that has warped the civil rights movement and created the theme of identity politics. As PJM asks today, what would MLK have thought of that?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reference; Martin Luther Kings Dream!

“I have a dream”; those words ring as clear in my mind today as they did the day I first heard them on August 28, 1963. My mom was watching a march on Washington DC that day on the television. My brother and I were playing with our toy trucks right in front of our ironically black and white television. It was like time froze for a time and my mom and us stopped to pray for the nation right along with him. Martin Luther King spoke to the masses and the nation. At the time I didn’t realize just how much he was speaking directly to me.

For the next forty five years I walked away when I heard persons making racist comments and I still do to this day. My mom taught me to respect all life no matter what their color or belief. I didn’t want to be a part of the racist crowd but there are some things the government or our birthright just doesn’t give us a choice over. Yes they call me white on all the government forms but in reality I’m really closer to beige.

I know however for sure that I am serving the same God that Mr. King was. I also know that that same God is fixing to bring a change upon this country that will sweep from sea to shinning sea. I know this because I have the same faith that Martin Luther King had and so do countless millions of others. You see there is really only one race – the human race – you’re shallow if you see it any other way. It is now time to wake up from that dream state and bring those dreams to reality. It is time for all of us as Americans to take back our states and our country. It is time to change some of our racist laws and policies so that we can save our economy as well as our way of life.

I am referring to “White Collar Crime”; wow, that title even sounds racist and it is. White Collar doesn’t mean you are white it means you are smart or at least that is what a local Solicitor told me recently when I went up against a Local investment group in South Carolina. For those of you that didn’t know what white collar crime is I will attempt to help you understand. The investment group I am referring to were all nineteen as beige as I am. OK for the sake of being politically correct we were all white. They are all to use the Solicitors words “smart”, and on the surface they all have the appearance of conducting legitimate businesses in the community.

My relationship had begun with the aforementioned group almost five years ago. They collaborated to set up false corporations and used persons like myself to make millions all the while moving all the money out of the country to the Cayman Islands. In many cases they would commingle the funds into their own failing businesses so as to offset losses from clients and customers that didn’t pay their bills. In any case none of what they have done can be prosecuted in the criminal courts because it all falls under the “civil” rules. That means If I can’t come up with the hundred and sixty thousand dollars to go after them myself the government will just let them slide under the rug.

On September 30, 2007; some of the investment group succeeded in putting Quick Transportation out of business. Quick Transportation LLC was the business that I set up over two years earlier to get away from the aforementioned group. A few of them convinced me that the others were the guilty parties and they put trucks on with my company. Shortly thereafter they began stealing their own equipment and collecting on my companies insurance. In some cases they just kept collecting payments from Quick all the while keeping said equipment in warehouses that they owned. Hundreds of police reports were filed with virtually every law enforcement agency. Some of them located in other states as the group would take equipment from there and put the same in their warehouse for months all the while collecting checks for lease payments from Quick Transportation.

The group was so “smart” they even set me up with my first and subsequently second attorney’s. I paid thousands of dollars in retainers and not a single witness has been deposed. The sad thing is the first attorney I acquired was only less than a year after going into business with this group. They had set up a Corporation named Driver Resources Inc. located in Sumter, South Carolina. We grossed over seven point two million in just two years. All the money was factored through a bank in Alabama and the group would divide the proceeds on a monthly basis. When they didn’t pay me I acquired their attorney and they walked me all the way to the point I am at now. I have not been able to work for the past four months because each attempt I have made has been met with another theft of a truck. The group has gone so far as to have a mechanic from a neighboring community drain the antifreeze and oil out of a truck I own so that when I crank it, it would burn up.

Police reports were filed on all of the hundreds of crimes that were committed against me as well as my company. I even have the hard drive and server that proves that Driver Resources Inc. really existed but to no avail. If the government is doing something they aren’t telling me about it. Even though the constitution gives certain rights to each of us as a “victim” of crime you have to pay your own way. If I am to see justice I must find a way to find an attorney that is willing to go up against the system (brotherhood) that they have set up.

Although I am facing odds that most would turn away from I will not let the dream that Mr. King helped instill in me go away. I believe that this could be the turning point in our country. Please read more about what happened to Quick Transportation LLC in previously released statements. Stand up for equal rights and help fight against white collar crime. Don’t let rich white people continue get away with murder, theft, racketeering, commingling funds, insurance fraud, loan fraud, forging documents, and the list just goes on and on. Send your support letters to Quick Transportation; PO Box 1087, Sumter, South Carolina 29151. It is time for our jails to have a more fairly represented population. Let’s show the Sumter South Carolina Solicitor that they are not as smart as they think. Just because the government wants to let them go, let’s wake up, and take action to make this change.