Impossible is nothing.

Once a year, arguably not nearly often enough, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s dream returns to our public consciousness. His vision was so clear: equality, period. One simple word, so many complexities. Here’s the speech, in its entirety:

The basic question is how can we be equal in God’s eyes, but not in each other’s? Obviously, it’s easier asked than answered. I’m not suggesting we all deserve the same “start” in life. That would make me a communist and Communism would make us equally oppressed. But apparently, basic reciprocal respect seems impossible, even 45 years after Dr. King shared his dream with the world; all those decades to absorb the message and it’s hasn’t universally sunk in. But should we be surprised? Change comes slow. Dr. King articulated in his speech back then, 100 years post-slavery and “the Negro is still not free.”

Will we ever judge each other solely by our words and deeds rather than superficially — based on presumptions, prejudices, and bigotry? Forget globally, let’s just start in America. Okay, how about just Houston? That too, I admit, seems overly-optimistic. But isn’t Dr. King’s message rooted in optimism? When his birthday arrives each year, so do the feelings of optimism and hope. Dr. King speaks with such charisma, confidence , and strength you’re almost coerced into believing anything is possible. And it’s different when you hear his entire dream. The bits of sound and video (we call ’em sound bites) you get on the news is an adequate reminder of the Civil Rights struggle and King’s dream for humanity. But to hear his words in full context — during a time of turbulent race-relations, in front of a huge multi-cultural crowd at The Lincoln Memorial, a century after the end of slavery — resonates profoundly like no excerpt could.

More Information:

Click here to read the transcript from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, courtesy of the Stanford University archives.

Click here to read this morning editorial in the Washington Post which proclaims, Dr. King’s “words are more relevant than ever this election year.”

Click here for Time Magazine’s profile on Dr. King, as part of “The 100 Most Important People of the Century.”

Did you know, the FBI had a file on Dr. King? Click here for Part 1. Part 2.

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