“I have a Dream” Speech

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’ve 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’ve 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. And 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. And 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 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 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 the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating: “For Whites Only.”* 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.”¹

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. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution 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 there 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.”²

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I 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 Pennsylvania.

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 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!

President Obama and My Four Components to the Future

This blog has really helped develop my sense of the economic future or at least a future I would like to see. It has four components to it. Two are tactical and very achievable and two are conceptual and high level.

They are:
Energy Innovation
Health Care Efficiency
Information Value
People Insight

I try to hit on these topics as much as I can as they related to the working world. For instance, I believe Energy Innovation and Health Care Efficiency are two areas ready to explode in growth. Smart entrepreneurs should be marshaling their resources in those two directions. The next five years are pivotal as to who the next big businesses are. Information Value and People Insight are skills that will be make or break for the next generation of leaders.

So, other than the obvious, what does this have to do with President Obama? His campaign and stimulus both hint at taking these four directions. For instance, here is an excerpt from his recent speech on January 8th, 2009:

And this plan begins with — this plan must begin today, a plan I am
confident will save or create at least 3 million jobs over the next few
years. It is not just another public-works program; it’s a plan that
recognizes both the paradox and the promise of this moment — the fact
that there are millions of Americans trying to find work even as, all
around the country, there’s so much work to be done. And that’s why
we’ll invest in priorities like energy and education; health care and a
new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive
in the 21st century. That’s why the overwhelming majority of the jobs
created will be in the private sector, while our plan will save the
public sector jobs of teachers, police officers, firefighters and
others who provide vital services.

To finally spark the creation of a clean-energy economy, we will double
the production of alternative energy in the next three years. We will
modernize more than 75 percent of federal buildings and improve the
energy efficiency of 2 million American homes, saving consumers and
taxpayers billions on our energy bills. In the process, we will put
Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced —
jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, constructing
fuel-efficient cars and buildings, and developing the new energy
technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a
cleaner, safer planet in the bargain.

To improve the quality of our health care while lowering its cost, we
will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within
five years all of America’s medical records are computerized. This will
cut waste, eliminate red tape, and reduce the need to repeat expensive
medical tests. But it just won’t save billions of dollars and thousands
of jobs, it will save lives by reducing the deadly but preventable
medical errors that pervade our health care system.

Strangely, the undertone I most agree with is the idea that a 21st century economy begins with shovel and dirt. For too long we’ve become too elitist to attend to bridges, dams, and road projects correctly. But these areas are foundational and multipliers for the more advanced work that is sought.

I’m looking forward to what President Obama says at his inauguration. It is rare that someone gets the chance to be legendary… and knows it.

Two Writers I like being Interviewed: Dan Pink and Geoff Colvin


Education and Art: A History of the Internet

In an entry of mine called During Down Economic Times a Couple of Avenues Grow in Value: Education and Art I mostly talk about how someone can self publish a book. I figured a book was a good combination of both education and art. But the essence of the entry is about creating something of value. It can, and probably should be, something small, almost like a hobby. It will consume time and develop new pathways in the brain for creativity and ideas.

A friend of mine over at A Cultivated Mindset pointed me to another great example of someone creating something educational and visually appealing is The History of the Internet. It was created by Director & AnimatorMelih Bilgil Voice over Steve Taylor  MusicTelekaster Translation – Karla Vesenmayer Scientific Management – Prof. Philipp Pape.

History of the Internet from PICOL on Vimeo.

Is Being an Entrepreneur Right For You?

Many people have lost their job over the last year. And no one is hiring. Self reflection and self reliance are critical. Two years from now we will be reading several stories about so and so who had lost their job and decided to make their own way with a business of their own. The stories are almost always success stories. But not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship. You must be passionate and don’t mind the details.

CNNMoney.com put together a quiz you should ask yourself before starting a business of your own. It is called The Would Be Entrepreneur’s Handbook. Here are some vital questions to ask yourself right off the bat (if you have a “No” answer then you should reevaluate doing this):

Experts, Mentoring, and Job Blogs

There are three sites I ran across lately that I thought were of value to the diverse readers of mine.


The idea is to create an online community that isn’t watered down – this is a website that is by invitation only. There is a little request to be invited tab at the bottom. So if you are an expert in your field, it is worth checking out.

Gotta Mentor

This site tries to get away from the artificial mentoring that other sites claim to provide. Nadira Hira wrote about it:

“The answer is simple,” he says. “Most people already do mentor. We
believe that people want to give guidance and support to others. They
just don’t want to give it to everyone. They want to invest their time
in people they have an affinity with.” So in addition to facilitating
mentoring relationships for people who already know each other, Gotta
Mentor’s MentorMatch makes it easy to find a match based on what you
already share—whether it’s family, college, a sorority, a sport,
ethnicity, gender, employer, or all of the above.

The Work Buzz

This site is associated with CareerBuilder.com. Several writers that I enjoy post to it. It is a good resource for anyone wanting to get a gauge of what is happening in the job environment. Most the stories are quick reads and witty.

President Obama is Making 30 Year Decisions

Jocelyn Noveck wrote a piece for the AP this weekend (1/11/08) called In Obama, many see an end to the baby boomer era. She writes how President-Elect Obama, although technically a baby boomer, represents something different as President. Here is an excerpt to say it better:

He’s an example of a new pragmatism: idealistic but realistic,
post-partisan, unthreatened by dissent, eager and able to come up with
new ways to solve problems.

But this isn’t to say that he belongs to the Generation X group either. Gen X tends to be a pessimistic group and someone who writes a book about Hope is certainly not a pessimist.

And that is the power for President-Elect Obama, he transcend stories like this one. He is so different than anything easily pigeon holed. For example he is half black and half white, he grew up in Hawaii, he is mature, but not retirement age, and he smokes, but tries not to. There are aspects to his back story that practically anyone can identify with.

And because of this, the undertone of the story is spot on. This is the next chapter for American Leadership. America has changed and people who reflect that will slowly begin to be elected into office in Congress. President-Elect Obama was just the first because he figured out the formula. Just like President Clinton used The Arsenio Hall Show and MTV to get elected, President-Elect Obama used the internet, texting, and social networking sites. Others will too, some more successfully than others.

I’ve written before that I believe in 30 year Presidents. I don’t mean that literally, but from a large scale policy standpoint. For instance, the period that is about to end is very much reflective of President Ronald Reagan’s ideas. Before President Reagan it was Franklin D. Roosevelt that set the tone for the next 30ish years. And before him it was the youngest President, Theordore Roosevelt, who established how the US would conduct itself for three decades. I start to lose my sense of history, but I could argue that Abraham Lincoln was the first in this string (prior to Lincoln, the US has several democracy leaders that each added something during their term as the US evolved).

A valuable question to ask is what is the tipping point? If America has changed then it isn’t an overnight event. It is probably cumulative. And at some point it becomes apparent, like a 17 year old boy who puts on his school pants and realizes he grew two inches over the summer. Is it simply time? 30 Years?