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.
Approximately 250,000 people attended the March on Washington. They came from all over the country. They came for many reasons. History says they changed the course of history.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.
Our country was divided. Many were disenfranchised. Many did not enjoy equality - both under the law and in the hearts of their neighbors.
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.
Leaders called for peaceful resistance. The majority went high when others went low.
We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.We cannot turn back.
They weren't alone. In gathering together, they supported one another to stand for what is right, what is just, what is the path to a better world for all humans.
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 (hu)men are created equal."
I march so that my daughter knows she matters and my son sees my action.
I march so that my mom's generation knows they did not fail.
I march because all people deserve personal liberties.
I march because our country was founded on civil discourse.
I march because I could not march with Dr. King and all of his contemporaries.
I have stood in the Birmingham Civil Rights museum and marveled at the courage of the Freedom Riders. I have studied the Civil Rights Movement and applauded the stamina of all who contributed. I have wondered whether I would have their courage given the same situation. I have doubted that I would.
I march because I stand for them, and for us. All of us.
Excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a DreamAugust 28, 1963, Lincoln Memorial