The show I'm working on is The Me Nobody Knows, which is based on the actual writing of inner-city school kids from the late 60's. As we rehearsed today, this speech in particular moved me, and I thought it would be appropriate to share it in honor of Martin Luther King Day:
I HAVE NO MANHOOD -- WHAT AM I?
YOU HAVE MADE MY WOMAN HEAD OF THE HOUSE -- WHAT AM I?
YOU HAVE ORIENTED ME SO THAT I HATE AND DISTRUST
MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS -- WHAT AM I?
YOU MISPRONOUNCE MY NAME AND SAY I
HAVE NO SELF-RESPECT -- WHAT AM I?
YOU GIVE ME A DILAPIDATED EDUCATION
SYSTEM AND EXPECT ME TO COMPETE
WITH YOU -- WHAT AM I?
YOU SAY I HAVE NO DIGNITY AND THEN
DEPRIVE ME OF MY CULTURE -- WHAT AM I?
YOU CALL ME A BOY, DIRTY LOWDOWN SLUT ---
WHAT AM I?
NOW I'M A VICTIM OF THE WELFARE SYSTEM --
WHAT AM I?
YOU TELL ME TO WAIT FOR CHANGE TO COME,
BUT 400 YEARS
HAVE PASSED AND CHANGE AIN'T COME --
WHAT AM I?
I AM ALL OF YOUR SINS
I AM THE SKELETON IN YOUR CLOSETS
I AM THE UNWANTED SONS AND DAUGHTERS
IN LAWS, AND REJECTED BABIES
I MAY BE YOUR DESTRUCTION, BUT ABOVE
ALL I AM, AS
YOU SO CRUDELY PUT IN, YOUR NIGGER.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you, my friends, even though we have the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
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 one day out in the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
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.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be engulfed, every hill shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.
With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to climb up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning, "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father's 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 hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi and every mountainside.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement 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 spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."
Martin Luther King Jr.
Speech at the Lincoln Memorial
March on Washington (8/28/1963)
Update:Digby on Bill Clinton, MLK and the soul of the Democratic party.
And: This essay by Richard B. Woodward in the NY Times Book Review on the relationship between shopping and holidays makes an interesting point:
Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is still largely free of ancillary merchandise. Only nonprofit and education foundations may benefit from his legacy. The King family tightly controls his image and words with regular lawsuits against unlicensed profiteers, and groups like the N.A.A.C.P. have spoken out against any hint of commercialization. Yet the absence of a full-blown consumer aura to the holiday may paradoxically prevent King from assuming his rightful place in the nation's life, alongside Washington and Lincoln. After all, you aren't an American icon until your silhouette can be slapped on a newspaper ad to sell a Toyota.
Wooward was being a little arch, I think, but it's still a valid point. When my 5 year old son woke me up today with "Happy Martin Luther King Day, Dad," it threw me a little, since MLK Day isn't the sort of holiday I've associated with that kind of greeting, but any other holiday worth its salt would have an associated greeting, so why not MLK Day? Until we in same way celebrate the day, with some kind of specific event or ceremony, even if the celebrations are a little crass and vulgar and involve shopping, it's bound to remain a second-class holiday, and its value for reminding us of the ideals of Dr. King will be limited.
(Of course, the efforts of the King family to control the exploitation of MLK's image are understandable, and the danger is that the crassification will overwhelm the deeper meaning of the day entirely.)
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.