January 2008 – Martin Luther King In His Own Words

“Man has the capacity to do right as well as wrong, and his history is a path upward, not downward. The past is strewn with the ruins of the empires of tyranny, and each is a monument not merely to man’s blunders but to his capacity to overcome them … 
This is why I remain an optimist, though I am also a realist, about the barriers before us. Why is the issue of equality still so far from solution in America, a nation that professes itself to be democratic, inventive, hospitable to new ideas, rich productive and awesomely powerful?   

The problem is so tenacious because, despite its virtues and attributes, America is deeply racist and its democracy is flawed both economically and socially … justice for Black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society … exposing evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced … 

It is time that we stopped our blithe lip service to the guarantees of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. These fine sentiments are embodied in the Declaration of Independence, but that document was always a declaration of intent rather than of reality … to this day, Black Americans have not life, liberty nor the privilege of pursuing happiness, and millions of poor white Americans are in economic bondage that is scarcely less oppressive.” 

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Categories: History

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