MLK – Master of a Dream
For the Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
To preach deliverance to the captives,
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
"MASTER OF A DREAM"
Tribute To Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.
(January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968)
Surreal, consequential, colossal, epic—
Undeniable, unbreakable, resilient, prescient—
Husband—son—and master—of a dream.
For it all began, and begins—with a dream.
And their spirits walked with his—
And they became one spirit—
In the stalwart pursuit of a justice that is blind
And an integrity that isn’t—
Being handed the torch of an infinite dream—
To march forward to the Finish Line
Of freedom and release—
Climbing to the highest heights
Of what one man alone can accomplish
If he lives his life as a man named KING lived his—
Who had absolute faith in his country and his friends,
And even in those of his enemies—
Who delved deep into the mountain of the great unknown,
Who found his way toward freedom’s glorious expanse—
Who marched gently yet firmly to the stairway of his destiny—
Who ascended those stairs one modest step at a time—
Who walked in the name of the millions that came before him,
And the millions that would soon come after;
That "content of one’s character" that fears no evil,
Who dreamed the greatest dream that can ever be dreamed
Inside of mortal flesh—
In that marvelous cup called America’s
That now runneth over—
In the unbridled destiny of an unbridled liberty—
For every race, class, creed and ethnicity,
To be both cleansed and liberated
From that stubbornly scourge called pride and prejudice—
That strange, demonic plague,
That hate-filled heresy—
That torrent of disease,
Of a mindless, merciless bigotry—
Unshackled forever through the vision of a dream,
Of a Doctor named Martin,
The very Author of that dream—
Who dreamed the greatest, sweetest, most transcendent dream
That any man could ever dream.
For that dream still lives on
In spite of all that has ever opposed it.
Not the fear of bombs blasting in a not so solemn night—
Not the fear of being bruised, beaten, stabbed or imprisoned—
In a nation that once appeared as uncivilized as any on earth—
Who hated the dream and the dreamer thereof.
Yet the dreamer became the master
And the author of that dream—
A dream that lives and conquers—
A dream that loves and sings—
Full of the spirit
Of a man named KING.
And you and I are both its protector and nurturer—
Each a culmination of the expression
Of the substance of that dream.
For the outcome of that dream
Is that we are all here together.
This is that dream for which we stand.
For each of us are partakers in the victory of that dream,
If we conduct ourselves accordingly—
If we are willing to shake the hand of our enemy
In the fervent hope that one day he will no longer be;
To stand in the face of violence
Without firing a single shot, or clenching our fists in anger.
To accept pain without inflicting it in others.
To risk one’s own life without endangering our neighbor’s.
To live our lives as he would have continued to live his—
In the name of the Doctor who came to have that dream—
To live out that dream through his children,
And his children’s children—
Of the Physician who came
To give that dream to the entire world,
Even unto death—
The ultimate price
In defense of a dream.
This is the dream of every parent
Who loves their child more than themselves.
This is the dream of every patriot and saint.
This is his dream—
And now it is ours too to share—
If only we will dare.
For it is a dream of liberty that knows no bounds—
For it is a dream of freedom that knows no doors—
Of liberation without scars—
Of peace without tears—
Of dignity without pain—
Because there were bounds laid before us,
And we overcame them all together;
Because there were doors that were built beyond us—
Yet we knew that one sweet day…
We ourselves would exist beyond them—
For those who were willing to walk through those doors—
No matter what may have lurked on the other side.
For there once were scars—so many scars—
Yet those scars have now been stripped of their permanence—
And the pain is no longer felt—
Because of one man and woman at a time
Who dared to dream the dream of a prophet—
A dream that drove our ancestors to risk their very own lives
To live out that dream, and to share that dream—
To complete that dream,
And to deliver that dream beyond themselves—
Expect for us to complete
And to deliver that dream beyond ourselves.
"I DREAM OF LIBERTY."
This unto me
Is the fundamental theme of the entire human race.
For it is the dream of all nations and all peoples—
Of all tongues and ages and classes and kindreds.
And the maker of that dream has a name—
And his name ends with that word which defines his very spirit.
For his name is one of royalty, and his spirit lives on.
For that spirit is here—right here among us.
For he was the one who uttered the following four syllables,
One of them beginning simply with the letter "I"—
He did not say "I shall have a dream."
He did not say "I did have a dream."
He did not say "I may have a dream."
He did not say "I might have a dream."
He did not say "I could have a dream…"
Nor did he say "I would have a dream."
That conquers all fear, death, hate, and violence—
Of a dream that is not limited to one—
Of the farmer who plows,
And of the gatherer that reaps.
For it is the dream of an aspiring actor in Hollywood,
A producer in Burbank, or a playwright on Broadway,
Just as much as he who was forced to pick cotton
Until his fingers began to bleed—
Or to the wife of that man who did all that she could
To heal and bandage his wounds
At the end of another dehumanizing day—
Only to reopen those wounds all over again—
And to never once break or succumb
To the horror and madness—
To the torture, or to the nightmare—
Because they knew that their dream
Would one day be fulfilled…
Through that of their legacy—
Not only of their own flesh—
But through the legacy of their deeds,
And the legacy of their labours.
And because they each had faith in the mothers to come,
Who would in turn give birth to those very same heroes,
Who would in turn dream that very same dream—
Who would actually be placed
In a position of divine providence,
To make that dream a reality for every American,
Because of one who dared to dream—
Because of one who dreamed to dare.
And dream, and do more than dream—they did.
For some pick cotton before they pick gold—
And some are made weak before they are strong—
And some say nothing before they say all—
And some must rise while others must fall.
Yet all of this occurs inside a single season.
It is like the Invisible Hand made visible—
That which was not seen before
Can now be seen forevermore.
And a man named King, he made it to that door—
Because he had the courage to knock, no matter the odds.
Even when no one would answer he never lost faith
In the intrinsic goodness of the human race.
For he knew that although no one would answer,
That someone was nevertheless there.
So he left and returned again
With other masters of that dream—
All with the same magnitude of purpose
And stern determination.
Respect the liberty and the integrity that lives within us,
As we have always respected your liberty and your integrity,
So you too should do the same.
For that is what it means to be called a fellow American.
For this gift clearly isn’t free for either one of us—
And the price must be paid by all,
Because all of our lives are at stake.
And they all began to knock together—
Still, no one would answer.
Then a woman named ROSA stood her ground by sitting down,
Yet standing up in the face of the tyrant—
Who always looks down rather than above.
And a man named KING decided that he would camp out—
Decided that he would speak out—
Decided that he would sit down—
Decided that he would sit in—
Decided that he would stand up and never sit down again,
Until that very same dream was secured for all of us—
One single man and woman at a time.
And the man peered from his window; and hour after hour…
And day after day, and week after week,
And month after month…
Slowly but surely…
You could sense that something had changed…
He began to respect him…
He even began to admire him, and to regard him as his equal…
Because all that he wanted was a place at the table.
Just a place at the table—
Where he could both hear and be heard.
Just a place at the table—
Where he could both give and be received.
So there he stood solemnly at the threshold of his destiny,
And the destiny of a nation.
The destiny of a dream—
And the dream of a destiny.
And this time without even knocking—
Yes, this time the door was opened;
And both he and his supporters went in,
And they feasted and celebrated as One—
As One People and One Nation—
Both what they had in common,
And those of their differences.
And they came to an understanding—
That we all have a place,
That we all have a calling—
And that we mustn’t interfere with that calling—
And that we must do all that we can
To ensure that our children and grandchildren
Will never have to endure
What a man named KING had to endure,
In order to fulfill his dream—
That we can all respect one another
Without being suspicious or circumspect
Of one another’s motives—
That it was never about revolution, but revelation.
It wasn’t even about the right to protest peacefully—
It was only about, and it was always about YOU, and ME,
Two citizens on the street—
Being free to walk together, to talk together—
To visit the very same department store or grocery store
To attend the same church, mosque or synagogue
To be accepted by the very same college or university
To work in the very same building
With the very same job,
With the very same job qualifications
And for our mothers to be free
To give birth in the very same ward
Of the very same hospital
To be judged as being equal—
Because we are equal.
I still have a dream…
Where there is joy in every heart,
And peace in every mind.
A dream where supper is always on the table—
Where every house in America
Is owned by the ones who inhabit it—
With equality of opportunity on every street corner,
In every city, state, province and protectorate of America—
Where at least that very hope exists in every nation on earth—
When this indeed has finally occurred,
Then we can move on to a brighter world together,
Standing mightily hand-in-hand—
Or, we can simply walk side-by-side,
And know that THIS is what that dream is all about;
The simple things,
The so-called "normal" things—
The "everyday" things that so many of us take for granted—
To live and let die—or to surrender and let live—
To give what should be given—
Because it is right—
Because it is just—
Just unto all—
Right unto all—
Given unto all—
Protected by all—
Enshrined in the hearts of all—
Cherished in the thoughts of all—
And yes, secured by law—
The law of peace—
The law of truth—
The law of justice—
The law of love.
This is our American Dream.
For it is a dream that feels empathy for all.
For it is the dream of our ancestors
Who lived centuries ago,
And the fulfillment of that dream
Through those they left behind—
In what one may call the dream of a legacy,
And the legacy of a dream.
It is a dream that lives on—that shall always live on—
Beyond gender, class, and even that of race.
For the dream is here, and the dream is now—
Because that dream was brought here on the backs of millions,
And in the hearts of many races, ethnicities and creeds.
For it is a dream that took pain,
Yet not sorrow.
For it is a dream that took pathos,
Yet never consternation—
Of a nonetheless brazen, rushing and nauseous sensation
In feeling all too suddenly abandoned—
When there were those who were simply too afraid—
Who were forced to flee
From the senseless rage of an ignorant mob—
Of those that were easily just as fearful,
If not more fearful
Than those they terrified—
For the innocent target who narrowly escaped,
Because they had no other choice but to live another day,
In the hope that things would one day change.
Things indeed have changed.
However, it is for many of us
Far from over.
For all had been given that could be given—
Every tear that could be shed had been shed—
Every drop of water that one could drink
Had dried in the well long ago—
For it all had been consumed
By the infinite cruelty of a merciless drought—
Not of the absence of rain,
But of the absence of empathy…
From those beyond the fence at the local plantation—
At a time when the harvest had yet to be gathered.
For it was not yet time for the latter rain—
For it was not yet time for the dream to be fulfilled.
Yet the harvest shall be gathered…
By they who sowed the seed by the agony of their labours—
By the sweat of their brow—
By the trail of their tears that have ebbed and flowed
For three hundred and ninety-two years.
And the day of their fulfillment
Surely lieth near.
For there is no greater power on earth given by man unto man,
Than that of sweet liberation and freedom unfeigned—
Which defines in principle that of Heaven on earth.
Yet even that power itself is derived from providence.
For we must always be willing to challenge ourselves,
To go beyond our comfort zone—
To DARE ourselves, if DARE we must.
DARE to speak out at your time of testing—
By rebuking the spirit of silent indifference
And idle conformity…
To the convenient, the luxurious, the decadent—the typical.
DARE to open one’s mouth—
In defense of the weak, the vulnerable,
And the dangerously overwhelmed.
DARE to open one’s mouth—
When our individual liberties are being challenged from within.
DARE to open one’s mouth—
In defense of one who is precariously outnumbered.
DARE to shine your light in a place
Where no light has ever before existed.
For we were not born into this world to condemn,
But to compel.
For we were not born into this world to curse,
But to cure that which can be cured—
If only by the power of words—
If only by the power of ideas.
For it is our job to lead—
To press on—
To look forward—
It is our job to accept that which is acceptable
In the here and now—
Not to backtrack, alienate, abandon or castigate—
Not to persecute or to attack—
Not to subtract from the content of someone else’s character—
And never, ever to deceive.
For our nation was founded after far too much bloodshed,
And after far too much tyranny—
Of millions upon millions…
Who were forced to go without their God-given rights—
That are meant to be given by man unto man—
And equally unto the woman.
For this too is part of that infinite dream—
Where everyone’s rights are bestowed equally,
And protected just as equally by everyone,
As if those rights were their own rights—
Because in truth they already ARE.
For this is the gift of liberty unshackled—
For this is the gift of the blessings of liberty—
A gift, which, outside of love itself,
Is the greatest gift on earth
That anyone can give.
Christopher B. Copas