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In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in the United States. One hundred years after this decree was signed, however, the life of blacks was still "sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination." On August 28, 1963, a quarter of a million people of all races came to Washington, D. C. to show their support for freedom and justice for all Americans, and for black people in particular. At that demonstration Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered this famous speech, widely regarded as the most eloquent statement of the black people's dreams and aspirations ever made. Dr. King told the world, "I have a dream" that equality would come "to all of God's children." He said he wanted everyone to be able to "join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! Free at last!…'"
I Have a Dream
by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro salves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred tears 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 languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling 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 would be guaranteed the inalienable 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. 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 open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwind of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something 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 forever 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 people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and 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 can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only," We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never 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 say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment 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 slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that even the state of Mississippi, a desert state sweltering with the heat of injustice and 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 the state of Alabama will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough place 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 with which I return to the South. 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.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country, its of thee
Sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing:
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' 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 prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire! 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 Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
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!"
abbr. Junior, a term used with name of a son who has the same name as his father
a. of, having to do with, or using symbols 象征（性）的
n. the act or process of setting free from slavery
n. an official public announcement 宣言，声明
vt. announce publicly
n. very important or significant 重大的
n. the force or speed of a moving object 动量
n. an official order; law 法令
n. a light used to guide or warn 灯塔；灯标
n. a person belonging to the black race
vt. burn with a powerful heat 烧焦灼伤
n. a glowing mass of light given off by a burning substance 火焰
v. (cause to) dry up （使）枯萎
a. full of joy; joyful
n. the time each morning when light first shows;
n. the state of being in prison or held against one's will 监禁；束缚
vt. (a person) confined or held against his will
vt. injure so as to make useless 使伤残
n. (usu. pl.) either of a pair of iron rings joined by a chain, used for fastening the hands or feet of a prisoner 手铐；脚镣
vt. the separate of one racial group from the rest of society 种族隔离
vt. separate or keep apart from others
n. behavior marked by unfairness or injustice toward others because of color, religion, sex, or age 歧视
n. the condition of being poor
n. success or good fortune
vi. experience long suffering 受苦，受折磨
n. forced removal from one's country or home; a person who has been forced to leave his country （被）流放（者）
a. shocking; extremely bad 骇人听闻的，极恶劣的
n. a person who designs buildings and supervises their construction; a maker; creator 建筑师；设计师；缔造者；创造者
n. the condition or quality of being independent
a. containing or implying a promise
a. written promise to pay a stated sum of money to a certain person at a certain time 期票
n. a person who inherits or has the right to inherit the money or property of another 继承人
a. cannot be taken away 不可剥夺的
n. freedom from the control or rule of another
n. the act of pursuing; an occupation
vi. fail to do what is required
ad. to such an extent or degree
a. holy 神圣的
n. a duty one must carry out 义务，责任
a. not enough
n. the quality of being just or fair; fair treatment according to law or honor
a. unable to pay one's debts 破产的
n. a room with strong walls, used for keeping valuables safe 金库，保管库
n. great wealth
vt. make or treat as holy 使成神圣；把...视为神圣
n. need for immediate action or attention
vt. make or treat as holy
n. the principle or method of gradual, as opposed to immediate, change
a. without people; lonely and sad 荒凉的;孤寂的
a. of or having to do with race
n. a naturally occurring mixture of sand and water into which anything resting on its surface sinks 流沙
n. close feeling or friendship among a group; fellowship
a. causing death; bringing danger or ruin
vt. guess too low a value for; have too low an opinion of
n. a strong and firm purpose 决心
n. unpleasantly hot
v. oppress with, or suffer from, heat
a. being or acting in agreement with the law; reasonable, fair 合法的；合理的
n. lack of satisfaction; restless unhappiness
vt. to give a feeling of freshness and healthy strength to 使精力充沛；使健壮
n. the condition of being equal
n. calmness; peacefulness
n. the state being a citizen
n. a strong wind that turns round and round 旋风
n. a piece of wood, or stone placed beneath a door; the place or point of beginning 门槛；开端
a. in accordance with is just or legally correct
a. unjust; illegal
n. a desire for drink, knowledge, freedom, etc.
n. extremely strong dislike
n. orderly behavior resulting from training and obedience to rules
vi. decline in physical, mental, or moral qualities 蜕化；堕落
a. dignified and noble 庄严的，壮丽的
n. a stately, grand appearance; splendor 威严；壮丽
n. warlike behavior or tendency; militant spirit or policy
a. aggressive; warlike
vt. flow over and swallow up; overwhelm 吞没；席卷
n. the fate or fortune of a person or thing
ad. beyond disentanglement; inseparably 解不开地；不可分（割）地
n. a person who is strongly devoted to sth.
a. that can not be expressed in words; had or objectionable beyond description
a strong feeling of dread, shock, or fear; sb. or sth. that causes horror （引起）恐怖（的人或物）
n. brutal conduct; cruelty 暴行，残忍
a. cruel and harsh; savage 残暴的，野蛮的
n. a feeling of being tired
n. a main public road
vt. remove the clothing or a covering of (sb.); take away the title rights, office, or self-respect of (sb.)
n. personal individuality; one's personality 个性，人格
n. the ability to move or be moved; the movement of people from one social group or status to another
n. a section of a city, often a slum, in which members of a minority group live 少数民族聚居区；贫民区
n. upright conduct; justice 正直；正义
a. having or showing great strength or size 强大的；浩大的
n. the act of frustrating or the condition of being frustrated 挫折
n. an owner of slaves
n. the act or fact of oppressing; cruel or unjust treatment 压迫
vt. control or rule in an unjust or harsh way
vt. change in form, nature, function, or appearance
vt. an area in a desert where there is water and plant life 绿洲
vt. raise to a higher level; elevate 提升
a. not straight; bent or curved 弯的，扭曲的
n. the human race; mankind
vt. cut with an ax 砍，劈
n. complete loss of hope or confidence 绝望
v. (cause to) sound harshly （使）发出嗓音
n. lack of harmony in notes sounded at the same time; harsh, clashing sounds 不（谐）和；嘈杂声
n. a long musical composition written to be played by an orchestra; a large orchestra made up of string, wind, and percussion instruments 交响乐（团）
pron. (old use) (object form of thou) you
n. a person who travels to a religious shrine or other sacred places; one of the English settlers who founded Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1962 朝圣者；清教徒前辈移民
n. the side or slope of a mountain
a. wonderfully large, powerful, etc. 巨大的；惊人的；奇妙的
n. the top of hill
v. make or become higher or greater
a. covered by snow at the top
a. rounded; attractively or well proportioned
n. a surface that is not flat; a piece of ground going up or down
n. a small mound of earth thrown up by a mole digging underground 鼹鼠丘
n. a small village
n. a person who is descended from the Hebrew people or whose religion is Judaism 犹太人
n. a person who is not a Jew非犹太人；非犹太教徒
n. a Christian belonging to a church that broke away from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century 新教徒
n. a member of the Roman Catholic Church 天主教徒
n., a. a religious folk song sung originally by the black people; of the spirit rather than the body 黑人圣歌；精神（上）的
a. able to do everything; omnipotent全能的
PHEASES & EXPRESSIONS
in a sense
in some ways but not in all; somewhat
fall heir to
inherit (money, title, property, etc.)
fail to pay or do when due
cause (sb.) to remember, recall to sb.'s mind
make or become less warm, excited, ardent, or interested
on the threshold (of)
about to experience
responsible for (violation of law, morally unacceptable behavior, etc.)
tie up with
connect to; relate to
take (sth. of value) away from
live through; experience; do the things one has thought about
stand up for
(cause to) go faster
Martin Luther King, Jr.