Let's make America a better nation

Following are excerpts from the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who is being honored today with a federal holiday.


Justice and Freedom

The deep rumbling of discontent that we hear today is the thunder of disinherited masses, rising from dungeons of oppression to the bright hills of freedom, in one majestic chorus the rising masses singing, in the words of our freedom song, "Ain't gonna let nobody turn us around.'' All over the world, like a fever, the freedom movement is spreading the widest liberation in history. The great masses of people are determined to end the exploitation of their races and land.

They are awake and moving toward their goal like a tidal wave. You can hear them rumbling in every village, street, on the docks, in the houses, among the students in the churches and at political meetings.

These developments should not surprise any student of history. Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.

The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself. The Bible tells the thrilling story of how Moses stood in Pharaoh's court centuries ago and cried, "Let my people go.''

From, "The Words of Martin Luther King Jr.''

'I've been to the mountain top'

We have been forced to a point where we're going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demands didn't force them to do it.

Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world, it's non-violence or nonexistence.

And also in the human rights revolution, if something isn't done, and in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of neglect, the whole world is doomed.

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination.

And let us move on in these powerful days of challenge, to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.

... I don't know what will happen now.

We've got some difficult days ahead.

But it doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountain top.

And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life; longevity has its place.

But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up the mountain. And I've looked over.

And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight we as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy tonight, I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

April 3, 1968, Memphis, Tenn., the day before Dr. King was shot.


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