Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"I Have a dream" anniversary

It was given 44 years ago today, by certainly one of the greatest English-language orators ever recorded. Right up there with Churchill, JFK, and MacArthur as my favorites. American Rhetoric has a full-length copy right here. Skip to the last half-cm or so if you dont want to hear it all.

Some of my personal favorites are just rhetorical flourishes or turns-of-phrase (I'm not sure if that should be hyphenated...I'm keeping it because it looks good) that exemplify MLK's oratorical genius. A few that don't get mentioned much are:

"but we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt"

"in the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."

"we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream"

I was pretty sure that I had heard Obama mention this last line in the speech announcing his candidacy, so I googled it. Well. Turns out that "justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream" is from Amos 5:24, in the good, old King James version of the bible (not so nice in other versions: "And roll on as waters doth judgment, And righteousness as a perennial stream"). I never even got to Obama.

Anyway, please listen, at least to the last 30 secs to 1 minutes of MLK's speech. It will give you chills. He rallies everyone, and then builds to a delirious crescendo: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Nice. Very nice. Still goose-bumpy here.

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