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ML KINGS I HAVE A DREAM SPEECH - AUG 28 1963I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in historyas the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of ournation Five score years ago a great American in whose symbolic shadowwe stand today signed the Emancipation Proclaimation Thismomentous decree came as a great beacon of hope to millions ofslaves who had been seared in the flames of whitheringinjustice It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night oftheir captivity But one hundered years later the coloredAmerica is still not free One hundred years later the life ofthe colored American is still sadly crippled by the manacle ofsegregation and the chains of discrimination One hundred years later the colored American lives on a lonelyisland of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of materialprosperity One hundred years later the colored American isstill languishing in the corners of American society and findshimself an exile in his own land So we have come here today todramatize a shameful condition In a sense we have come to our Nations Capital to cash a check When the architects of our great republic wrote the magnificentwords of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independencethey were signing a promissory note to which every Anerican wasto fall heir This note was a promise that all men yes black men as well aswhite men would be guaranteed to the inalienable rights of lifeliberty and the pursuit of happiness It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissorynote insofar as her citizens of color are concerned Instead ofhonoring this sacred obligation America has given its coloredpeople a bad check a check that has come back markedinsufficient fundsBut we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in thegreat vaults of opportunity of this nation So we have come tocash this check a check that
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