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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in America [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2006-1-17 02:08:04 |Display all floors
Today, Monday, January 16, is a holiday in the United States to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a black civil rights leader who was killed by an assassin in 1968.  It is the newest national holiday, and the federal, state, and local government offices are closed, in addition to banks and the stock markets.  Retail establishments are open, but most do not have sales on King's birthday.  It is considered a serious holiday to commemorate the life of an American who was killed by another American out of racial hatred.

For years there was much opposition to recognizing the holiday.  Some whites didn't like the idea because they didn't like King.  King was controversial in his day, but led a movement that has benefitted the USA substantially in changing the public's views on race and equality generally.

King Day occurs just two weeks after America's "Holiday Season," which runs from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, and, for retailers, begins around Veteran's Day on November 11.  So many complained that it was placing a holiday in a month just after the traditional holiday season.  Other people wanted to "bundle" King Day with Lee-Jackson Day, a holiday that was once popular in the states of the confederacy that honored two of the most popular generals during the American Civil War.  Others suggested that King Day should be celebrated near the time he was killed, which would have been the first week of April, a time in the calender when there isn't a federal holiday.  There are no fedral holidays between late February and the last week of May.  It is the longest stetch in the entire calendar without a federal holiday.

Many federal holidays in the USA are celebrated on the Monday where they usually appear in the calendar.  So while Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday is (and was) always January 15, the actual day on which it is celebrated shifts every year, but is usually around the middle of the month.  Instead of noting the many holidays celebrated on Mondays, it would be more beneficial to state those that aren't: January 1 (New Year's Day); July 4 (Independence Day); November 11 (Veteran's Day); 3rd Thursday of November (Thanksgiving); and December 25 (Christmas Day).  The holiday that is most likely to be dropped from the calendar is Columbus Day (a mid-October Monday).  Many American Indians and others feel that Columbus was a bad guy, but he lived more than 500 years ago, so it is impossble that he would have been enlightened.  The stock market is open on that day, so it's not a settled holiday.  I believe that Veteran's Day should be shifted to a Monday and placed somewhere else in the calender.  Nov. 11 was established because it's the day WW1 ended, but it was also the day that WW2 began, because the treaty sought to punish the people of Germany, not to disarm their leaders militarily and politically.  Maybe that's the holiday we can move to early April.

Most black Americans celebrate King Day with memorial services at their local churches.  There is an old saying that Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America, and it is still true.  Usually, politicians of all races will celebrate King Day by attending a memorial service at a large African-American church and the media are invited also.  

White Americans in many ways haven't quite found a consensus on how to commemorate King Day.  During the Clinton years, the President and Vice President would perform community service on that day.  I seem to remember images of them installing Internet cable in local schools.  Community service isn't such a bad idea for King Day.  People will have been through the religous/family section of the calendar and ready to get back to community holidays.

[ Last edited by matt605 at 2006-1-16 05:44 PM ]

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Post time 2006-1-17 05:05:54 |Display all floors

Springtime would be a good time for Veteran's Day

We could switch Veteran's Day to the second Monday in April to have it commemorate the fall of Baghdad and the "Mission Accomplished" speech by President Bush.  That would be much better than November, which already has a major hoiday and it would also take some heat off of Columbus Day, which will then be the only holiday between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.  So Columbus Day will become the new start of the Christmas buying season, and cause people to buy even more.

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Post time 2006-1-19 20:39:50 |Display all floors

Martin Luther King !

His speech I have a dream is splendid, really wonderful ! I admire him as one of my idol!
Another day , another dollars!

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Post time 2006-1-20 11:34:35 |Display all floors
Does anyone have the <i have a dream>?if have ,please stick on the net ! thank u!

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Post time 2006-1-20 18:40:30 |Display all floors

Here is the text of "I have a Dream."

Here is the text of "I have a Dream."  The use of the word "Negro" is obviously not a slur, but in years since, it has become one.  Blacks can sometimes use the word informally in reference to themselves, but it's never considered appropriate for non-African-Americans to use it.  One exception may be legal descisions of the U.S. federal courts.  The use of the term "Negro" persisted for years in the technical language of court decisions, and I'm unaware that it has changed.

"I Have A Dream"
by Martin Luther King, Jr,

Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. Source: Martin Luther King, Jr: The Peaceful Warrior, Pocket Books, NY 1968

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 slaves 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 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 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 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 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. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. 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. 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 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 their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall 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 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 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 am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your 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 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, 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 a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day 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 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 the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, 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 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. 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 a 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. 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 snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks 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 every 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!"

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