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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.”… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
"I Have a Dream," speech at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963
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More from Martin Luther King Jr.
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 any man, 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.
I've Been to the Mountaintop (Speech in Memphis, TN, April 3 1968)
We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.
'Letter from Birmingham Jail' in Why We Can't Wait 1963.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.
Stride Towards Freedom
Often paraphrased as "One who condones evils is just as guilty as the one who perpetrates it."
A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.
Strength to Love (1963)
We will speed the day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing … “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.”