Whether preaching, marching, singing, being arrested or praying, Martin Luther King was an imposing figure. He could calm our fears and lift out spirits, whether we were 10 feet or 1000 miles away. He gave us strength in the face of overwhelming adversity.
Today is the day we have chosen to celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday and his life. We've all heard, or should have heard, his "I Have a Dream" speech countless times. I thought it was without doubt the most historically significant and the most profound speech I have ever heard. I was deeply moved at the time and I'm equally moved when I hear it now.
President Obama's speech on election night and the one on Inauguration day were equally moving and profound. Since God seems to be speaking to just about everyone these days, I wonder if he's pointed out that the two greatest orators in our country in over 50 years have been black.
A total of Forty-one people died in the battle for equality and justice for all people.
If it hadn't been for Dr. King and so many other extraordinarily courageous people, black and white - including little children - who braved dogs, fire hoses, jails, beatings, hangings and bombings, we would not have a black president today.
In August 1963, more than 30 chartered trains and over 2,000 freedom buses were used to carry people to the nation's capital. Along with private transportation, over 250,000 people gathered for the March on Washington.
To read Dr. King's ending remarks is as powerful as listening to the video, which follows.
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 one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
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 that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."