‘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. … This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
‘And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. … From every mountainside, let freedom ring. And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that 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 in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”’
—The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Negro Preacher
‘Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story, of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to. It is that promise that’s always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams, as well. That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women—students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors—found the courage to keep it alive. …
‘Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land—enough! This moment, this election, is our chance to keep, in the 21st Century, the American promise alive.’
—Barack Obama, 2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee, who just happens to be African-American.
And this in the span of my lifetime. (I wasn’t quite born yet in August ’63, but I was baking in the womb.) So, within my lifetime, I have seen segregated water fountains and swimming pools and schools and housing in my Oklahoma town go the way of the dinosaurs to be replaced (hopefully) by a black man in the White House in Washington.
Amazing. Overwhelming. Spectacular. Almost unbelievable. Can’t wait for November.