he had a dream AND a way with words

mlk

DREAM: a strongly desired goal or purpose  

Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood at a microphone and delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. 

There is much to love about that speech and plenty to comment on.  Some writers have appropriately noted the progress we have made.  Others have appropriately noted the progress yet to be made.  Today, I will do neither. 

As I read the text of Dr. King’s speech, I am struck by the beauty and power of his prose.  The words of his speech – even without the enhancement of his gift for oration – are simply incredible.  I can’t add anything to them with commentary.

I encourage you to read the text of Dr. King’s speech.  There are so many powerful ideas and phrases that are typically excluded from the soundbytes.  Sit with this speech a little while and see if the power of the words, even five decades after they were spoken, don’t make themselves relevant to you today.

Here are some of the words I want to sit with a little longer:

…seared in the flames of withering injustice…

…a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity…

… crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination…

…a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity…

…languishing in the corners…

…refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity…

…fierce urgency of now…

…to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism…

…legitimate discontent…

…an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality…

…whirlwinds of revolt…

…on the high plane of dignity and discipline…

…until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream…

…veterans of creative suffering…

… sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression…

…dripping with the words of interposition and nullification…

 …able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood…

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