Monday, April 03, 2006

All we say to America is, "Be true to what you said on paper."

On April 3, 1968, an incredible speech was given at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. gave a speech supporting the sanitation workers of Memphis Tennessee in ther strike. It would be the last time Dr. Martin Luther King Jr would ever address a crowd. It included passages like this:

"Secondly, let us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. Now, we've got to keep attention on that. That's always the problem with a little violence. You know what happened the other day, and the press dealt only with the window-breaking. I read the articles. They very seldom got around to mentioning the fact that one thousand, three hundred sanitation workers were on strike, and that Memphis is not being fair to them, and that Mayor Loeb is in dire need of a doctor. They didn't get around to that."

and also this:

Now about injunctions: We have an injunction and we're going into court tomorrow morning to fight this illegal, unconstitutional injunction. All we say to America is, "Be true to what you said on paper." If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren't going to let any injunction turn us around."
This is not the safe language of the Dr. King "I have a dream" commercials you will seen sponsored by McDonalds in February. This is Dr. King, supporting public sanitation workers on a strike. These are the lines the MTA, Billionaire Bloomy and Backdoor George didn't want you to see. This is DEFINITELY the Dr. King the Republicans DID NOT want you to see while they claimed Rev. Joseph Lowery politicized Coretta Scott King's funeral.

38 years ago today, Dr. King was taken from us. And if he saw what they've done to him, what we've dne to him, my guess is he would be mad, but he'd probably attack it first by laughing at it. Dr. King was murdered because had crazy notions, like all people deserve a fair and decent life (no matter what continent they are from) and that people banding together for non-violent resistance could make a change. It was because of small minded dolts that we lost him, that his kids lost their father.

Less than a day before he's going to die, King gave this electrifying end to his speech, which of course had the crowd up on its feet.

"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. "

Thanks Dr. King. We're doing our best to keep it moving. Find out something about him today. Something you can't find out about him on TV.


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