I post this reflection on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech given at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963, fifty years ago. I remember it. That march, originally called the March for Jobs and Freedom, made the difference in the passage in the united States of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
I also remember his death.
For the 50th Anniversary …
Let freedom ring again
from the prodigious list of hilltops,
beginning with New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring … and vote
in the polling places
pried open by the March on Washington
and so recently slammed shut again.
Let freedom ring, vote … and walk
across borders without walls,
so that people of all the world
may come freely —
refugee of war and economic immigrant,
surgeon and picker of strawberries.
Let freedom ring, vote, walk … and dance,
tell stories, sing and play sports.
Let freedom watercolor all the beauty
from the land of the Grand Canyon
to the city of the Gran Torino.
Let there be all these freedoms —
for everyone to be healed,
to be educated,
to be fed and clothed and married.
But let there not be freedom
for everyone to keep and carry all those guns.
Let freedom weep
the killing of dreamers,
like the one who dreamed
little children would one day live
judged by content of character
rather than color of skin,
and the killings in Colorado, Wisconsin,
and in too many communities to name –
for we have a dream today
that one day children will simply live!