"I Have A Dream" (August 28, 1963)



Somebody should ask Obama whom he feels a greater kinship to … MLK Jr or the feds who used surveillance and spying to try and destroy him because he was inconvenient to their power.

Because from where I’m sitting it is pretty obvious which side Obama is on today.


I had no idea why this was posted today, until I realized that it’s MLK day in the States. Duh.

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Martin Luther King, “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam”

It’s a message to war profiteers that we need much more of today within our jingoistic nation.


Yes yes yes.

Enough already of the kinder, gentler, less challenging version of King that so many white people prefer.


at what point in the video above can you hear her say that? i was trying to pay attention, and i must have missed it because always get swept up in what an amazing speech it is.

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I don’t think you can hear Mahalia Jackson saying it in the recording? Here’s a story about it though:


ok, i read that this morning, too, which is why i thought your post was perfect timing… now i want to hear her! i have an MP3 of the speech in a collection of great speeches – now i am wondering if she’s in that one. i’ve never seen a transcript of his original prepared speech, so i have always thought that he was following his notes, with some embellishment here and there. the NYT story was complete news to me… i would’ve taken it as urban legend, except it’s completely substantiated.

Well, there’s also this version:

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I’ll just leave this here…

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There’s a transcript of a variation of that sermon, held on another date: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/pacificaviet/riversidetranscript.html .

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This summer I attended a family reunion in Montgomery, AL. This is where my grandparents lived and even during my childhood it was still highly segregated, though segregation was no longer the law.

As part of our family activities, we went to the Rosa Parks museum, which is very nice - and I can’t even tell you how refreshing it is to see Montgomery embracing its place in civil rights history.

During our tour we had a guide who talked to the exhibits. It was the first time that it hit me what an incredible force MLK was; how young he was when he led the Dexter Street Baptist Church and forced the buses to desegregate. How he put his life and his family’s lives at risk to lead the bus boycott.

One of the things they showed us at the museum that either I had never known or it had just passed right by me when I learned it was that there was an entire alternative public transportation system that was organized by the Dexter Street Baptist Church in the blink of an eye, so that protesters would be able to get around without the buses, and that churches and supporters all throughout the US were buying these huge station wagons and sending them down to serve as buses.

They also showed us how, with no Internet, they organized the vote to support Rosa Parks’ legal fight quite literally overnight.

That church and the NAACP was just a hell of an organization to pull off the things that they did. It really impressed upon me how determined people were to end the awful laws in Montgomery and all over the South.


Thanks. Icing on the cake is that Hoover quote.

I haven’t been to that museum, but I’m curious now… Did they also point out that King might not have taken that path if the women of Montgomery insisted that they have a boycott? Or that the reason the boycott went so well was because of the women who organized it? Or that Rosa Parks had a long history of activism? Check out Danielle McGuires book on women in the civil rights movement, I think it gives a much fuller picture of what was happening and why:


The King museum here in Atlanta tends to gloss over people like Ella Baker or Bayard Rustin (Rustin gets a mention and Baker, none–but, fair enough, it’s the King museum, right?), long time vets who helped to shape the movement, in many ways, more so than King, despite the fact that he was the public face of the movement… I think there is a strong class dimension to why that was so, as well as in part due to Rustin’s supposed “indiscretions”–his arrests for “sexual misconduct” in LA.

I struggle with these sorts of historical ommissions, which sanitize the movement to such an extent.

No, it definitely talked about her role as an activist and it’s quite clear that she knew the law and was waiting for the right moment. There’s a middle section on the bus where a black person did not have to get up for a white person; that’s where she was sitting. They didn’t exactly say it but you understood from their presentation that as secretary of the NAACP she knew the specifics of the laws and sat in those seats as often as she could, just waiting for someone to try to make her move.

They also had a room with a long timeline of similar public transportation tests of civil rights laws, which I did not know about.

Of course I have learned about Rosa Parks’ role before but seeing the museum, I had a great respect for how she handled what was a dangerous and potentially riotous situation that evening with so much dignity and strength. The museum has a bus with silhouettes that appear in the windows explaining the events of the night; how crowded the bus was and how freighted the situation was. And then afterward I think there was something inside her that made people willing to stand behind her and press for change. I don’t think I’d seen until I went to the museum how much she inspired people, how still she was within herself.

I did not know the other names you mentioned. I will read the link.

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