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28 August 2008

Text of Martin Luther King, III DNC Speech

While waiting to come to the podium, I could not help thinking how proud my father would be: proud of Barack Obama, proud of the party that nominated him and proud of the America that will elect him.

On this day, exactly 45 years ago, my father stood on the National Mall in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln and proclaimed, "I have a dream! ... That one day, this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed."

We're all children of the dream, and he is in all our hearts and minds. But not only that, he is in the hopes and dreams, the competence and courage, the rightness and readiness of Barack Obama.

But my father would be quick to remind us that realizing his dream is not Barack Obama's job alone. America needs more than a great president to realize my father's dream. What America needs is a great America.

Let me paraphrase my father: The ultimate measure of a nation is not where it stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where it stands in times of challenge and controversy.

On some questions, cowardice asks, is a position safe? Expediency asks, is a position politic? Vanity asks, is a position popular? But, that something deep inside us called conscience asks, is a position right?

Sometimes we must take positions that are neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; we must take them because they are right!

If we are to be a great democracy, we must all take an active role in our democracy. We must do democracy. That goes far beyond simply casting your vote. We must all actively champion the causes that ensure the common good.

In five short years, when we reflect upon the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, let us look back and celebrate our audacity to redress poverty, commemorate the hope and faith that led us to take charge of our lives and communities, and venerate our dream of life, liberty and happiness, through our renewed commitment to prevent unjust wars from ever being waged.

Then let us look forward to the next 50 years as we stand together, because our potential as a people is limitless. Work together, because our ability to do good in the world is boundless. And live together, because of our values of fairness, full justice, opportunity and the majesty of the dream.

On this, the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington, and in honor of the legacies of my father and of Bobby Kennedy, let us give our nation a leader who has heard this clarion call and will help us achieve the change we still need: Barack Obama.