Monday, January 19, 2009
From Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" to "Yes, we can!"
Fifteen years ago, Congress voted to designate Martin Luther King Day as a day of service. For many, the memory of Martin Luther King evokes a moment when he gave a speech on August 28, 1963, before a crowd of over 250,000 near the Lincoln Memorial. That speech is now remembered by four words, "I have a dream," but it began as a transcript that King ultimately put aside to deliver one of the most memorable speeches in American history. On that fateful day, as King drew to the close of his prepared remarks, the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, urged him from behind to tell the people about his dream. Upon further urging from Jackson and the crowd, King delivered his famous speech to all who had gathered for the March on Washington.
King spoke of his dream being deeply rooted in the American dream, as he said...
"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.'"
Fast forward to November 4, 2008, and the U.S. people elected Barack Obama to become the first black President of the United States. As we commemorate Martin Luther King's "dream," the U.S. is on the verge of history, anticipating the remarkable inauguration of Barack Obama. Perhaps it is fitting that the President-elect has answered the call of Martin Luther King, Jr., by declaring, "Yes, we can!"