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by Rick S / October 29, 2004 2:14 PM PDT

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village 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 Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

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That IS Beautiful.
by W2X3XP / October 29, 2004 2:25 PM PDT
In reply to: Beautiful
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(NT) (NT) yes! and it must RING, never "reign" over this free lan
by netsky / October 29, 2004 2:28 PM PDT
In reply to: That IS Beautiful.
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Re: if it was good enough for MLK.....
by jonah jones / October 29, 2004 2:37 PM PDT

#to establish a reign of freedom# who are you to say any different.....


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Re: if it was good enough for MLK.....
by netsky / October 29, 2004 2:56 PM PDT

then i am good enough to point out that great man's error of application.

He wasn't perfect, either, mr. alternate black pot to mine.

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and now i will butt out
by netsky / October 29, 2004 2:57 PM PDT

having foolishly swallowed your bait i see my fresh error.

I do not wish to further pollute Rick's pure and peace-giving thread.

Take a cue?

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Re: and now you will bait out?
by jonah jones / October 29, 2004 3:01 PM PDT

bait? my post was no more 'bait' than yours....

MLKs' use of the word reign was no error, and if you read his acceptance speech, you might, just might, see that you are wrong.........


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Re: and now you will bait out?
by cbbrown / October 29, 2004 3:18 PM PDT
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Maybe I missed something ...
by Bill Osler / October 29, 2004 9:58 PM PDT

I'm not sure I understand your point here. The original speech did not use the word "reign" according to either or the transcripts I found.

For example:
From: American Rhetoric: Martin Luther King, Jr. - "I Have a Dream"
I pasted the entire text since this speech has been published so many times in so many places that I doubt copyright is an issue.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves, who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. 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 must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecutions and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face 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 on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners 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 injustice, 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; 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 exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, 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 stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. And this will be the 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 fathers 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.

And so let freedom ring -- from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring -- from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring -- from the heightening Alleghenies of

Let freedom ring -- from the snow-capped 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 Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring -- from every hill and molehill of Mississippi,
from every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village 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 Negro spiritual,

"Free at last, free at last.

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

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This was discussed before ...
by Evie / October 29, 2004 10:13 PM PDT

... and there are some links to MLK using "reign" here.

It was also a phrase used by Nelson Mandela, so this is just resurrecting a non-issue to start a fuss.

Evie Happy

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(NT) (NT) Oops. I must have missed that thread.
by Bill Osler / October 29, 2004 10:21 PM PDT
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Re: Evie already supplied the link
by jonah jones / October 29, 2004 11:27 PM PDT

and sorry to confuse the issue for you Dr Bill...

i was trying to say "if the word was good enough (in another speech) for MLK, who are we to argue?"


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If freedom "reigns"
by Steven Haninger / October 29, 2004 9:50 PM PDT

than one "reigns" over oneself and is not lorded over by another human. It is slavery that must not reign. It is fear that must not reign. It is...and I will no go on. I have no problem with the phrase. I suspect those who do might do well have some undue paranoia.

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(NT) (NT) another Kerry quote?
by jonah jones / October 29, 2004 2:28 PM PDT
In reply to: Beautiful
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I'm sure he wishes he were so eloquent ...
by Bill Osler / October 29, 2004 10:01 PM PDT

That speech is right up there with the very best examples of English rhetoric. It's too bad so many of our current leaders (including both presidential candidates IMO) are so comparatively inarticulate.

Kerry is clearly a better speaker than Bush, but he doesn't even compare with Martin Luther King Jr.

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(NT) (NT) I agree 100% with you Bill!
by Charlie Thunell PL&T / October 29, 2004 10:09 PM PDT
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Unfortunately, rhetoric isn't everything ...
by Bill Osler / October 29, 2004 10:31 PM PDT

There is also something to be said for having something to say.

IMO both candidates fail miserably in that area.

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Better speaker?
by Evie / October 29, 2004 10:16 PM PDT

I'm not so sure about that. He is clearly a better debater and does better in many speaking contexts. But he is pretty awful at giving a speech. OTOH, Bush has given several memorable speeches.

Evie Happy

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Clearly a MUCH better speaker IMO ...
by Bill Osler / October 29, 2004 10:38 PM PDT
In reply to: Better speaker?

Of course, rhetorical skill is a subjective thing.

It is important to separate the rhetorical skills from the message. Kerry is quite articulate and has good speaking skills, although he is not always on top of his game. That does not mean I buy his message even when he thinks he has something meaningful to say.

Bush, OTOH, is almost as bad as his father at mangling the English language. I frequently find it painful to listen to him even when I agree with him. When I disagree with him I find his speaking almost tragicomic. It is true that he has made some memorable speeches, but most of the ones I find memorable were memorable more because of the Bushisms and mangled language than because of their rhetorical splendor.

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I guess I'm focusing on a more narrow genre ...
by Evie / October 29, 2004 11:01 PM PDT

... that being giving a speech to motivate the country and such. Kerry, perhaps because of his hoityness, simply cannot connect with people no matter how good the rhetoric or presentation. Bush can, and has, on several occasions. Yes, I'm painfully aware that he can mangle the language like the best of them. Sometimes I cringe when he does it. But I guess the final test of a good speaker/speech is in the effect it has on the audience. BTW, do we know that MLK's words were his original words? He hands down trumps many public figures before and after.

Evie Happy

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Re: just thinking aloud....
by jonah jones / October 29, 2004 11:38 PM PDT

sitting here and wondering....if someone (a politician) could be as "enthused" as MLK while talking about "things political" and have that same brand of fervour, how long would it take for them to reach the white house?....


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I hope it would depend on the content of his/her enthusiasm
by Bill Osler / October 30, 2004 2:05 AM PDT

It's not that I'm optimistic on that score. Just hopeful.

My opinion is that if a white male politician with MLK's oratorical gifts, vision, enthusiasm and leadership ability were to materialize he would rapidly rise to national prominence. I don't think the oratory alone would do it. I am not sure a woman or a person of color would rise quite so rapidly even with all of those gifts. Our society is not (yet?) as egalitarian as we aspire to be.

The other question is how badly such a leader would be damaged in his ascent. Great leaders (alpha males?) frequently have great flaws and they can become easy targets for attacks aimed at character. Could that be why we have so many wannabe leaders competing for public office and so few truly gifted people elected? I'm not saying that character is irrelevant. It is relevant. I'm just observing that accurately discerning the important aspects of character is rarely done with great wisdom. A person with essentially sound character will still make mistakes or have lapses, and a gifted person's lapses are sometimes so obvious that they may loom large when others (especially jealous rivals) examine the person's character.

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Re: I hope it would depend on the content of his/her enthusi
by Cindi Haynes / October 30, 2004 2:17 AM PDT

Hi Dr. Bill,

I always thought Ronald Reagan was a gifted speaker. Definitely didn't have the fervor of an MLK, but he had a boatload of talent. I think Peggy Noone wrote many of his speeches though.

Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email the mods

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Re: I hope it would depend on the content of his/her enthusi
by netsky / October 30, 2004 3:19 AM PDT

i don't know how to express this very clearly- sorry if it sounds muddy, but is this not true?

=Charisma and speaking talent led to full careers for these men, before they bloomed on the national stage.

not necessarily so with other 'pure' politicians. The two candidates at hand being an example. For them the speaking thing is not what got them where they are.

No wonder a Lincoln is such a singular appearance on the American Stage. He had it all: the greatest speechwriter of any american, ever. The humble, the self made, the self-evident truth, the humanity, the resolve. He had it all. No feet of clay, no pecadillos, no hint of scandal ever touched him?

The singular measure by which all others may be compared? I think so.

And in his way too, to a different way because his goals and circumstance was different than Lincoln's, MLK has a similar grip and legitimacy on our hearts today.

Both were terminated by flashes of hate, remaining perched upon their peaks forever.

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Re: I'm sure he wishes he were so eloquent ...
by Rick S / October 30, 2004 3:37 PM PDT

It is because they are incapable of being completely honest! We dictate this!

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Re: Beautiful
by Chorus-Line A1-QMS / October 30, 2004 9:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Beautiful
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Re: Beautiful
by W2X3XP / October 30, 2004 11:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Beautiful

That graphic is very nice, CL. You really do have a special talent.

My talent consists of C/P. LOL

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Re: Beautiful
by Rick S / October 30, 2004 3:34 PM PDT
In reply to: Beautiful

Heart and Soul!

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