On August 28, 1963, exactly 56 years ago, Martin Luther King gave his famous speech "I have a dream" in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. At the time 250,000 people were gathered to fight for the civil rights of African Americans. Today his words are still ringing.
In his address, the American pastor and activist solemnly called for the end of racism in the United States. He claimed loud and clearequality between whites and african-americans. Called "I have a dream", he describes his dream of freedom and equality in a world marked at the time by slavery and hatred.
56 years later, it's an opportunity to immerse yourself in this founding speech, considered as one of the most important of XXème century and become inescapable in our History.
The full speech translated into French
"I am pleased to join you today to participate in what history will call the greatest demonstration for freedom in the annals of our nation.
A century ago, a great American who now covers us with his symbolic shadow signed our Proclamation of Emancipation. This capital decree stands, like a great lighthouse illuminating with hope the millions of slaves branded in the fire of a burning injustice. This decree came as a joyful dawn to end the long night of their captivity.
But, a hundred years later, the black man is still not free. One hundred years later, the black man's life is still severely handicapped by the handcuffs of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the black man lives on his island of poverty in the middle of a vast ocean of material prosperity. A hundred years later, the black man still languishes in the corners of American society and is exiled in his own country.
That's why we came here today to denounce a shameful human condition. In a sense, we came to our national capital to cash a check. When the architects of our Republic magnificently drafted our Constitution of the Declaration of Independence, they signed a check which every American should inherit. This check was a promise that all men, yes, both black and white, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has broken promises to its colored citizens. Instead of honoring his sacred obligation, America delivered to the Black people a wooden check, which returned with the inscription "insufficient provisions". But we refuse to believe that there is nothing to honor this check in the vast vaults of luck, in our country. Also, we came to cash this check, a check that will give us on simple presentation the wealth of freedom and security of justice.
We also came to this sacrificed place to remind America of the urgent needs of the present time. This is not the time to afford the luxury of letting our warmth or taking the tranquilizers of half measures. It's time to keep the promises of democracy. It's time to emerge from the dark, desolate valleys of segregation to walk the sunny trail of racial justice. It is time to wrest our nation from the shifting sands of racial injustice and to establish it on the rock of fraternity. It is time to make justice a reality for all God's children. It would be fatal for the nation to turn a blind eye to the urgency of the moment. This stifling summer of the legitimate discontent of the Blacks will not end without an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.
1963 is not an end, it is a beginning. Those who hope that the black man only needs to let off steam and that he will now be satisfied, will have a rough awakening, if the nation returns to its usual routine.
There will be no rest or tranquility in America until the black people are granted their citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice appears.
But there is something that I must say to my people, standing on the welcoming threshold that gives access to the palace of justice: in proceeding to conquer our legitimate placewe must not be guilty of wrongdoing.
Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must always fight in the highlands of dignity and discipline. NOTWe must not let our creative claims degenerate into physical violence. We must constantly rise to the majestic heights where the strength of the soul is united with physical strength.
The wonderful militant spirit that has seized the black community must not lead us to the mistrust of all whites, because many of our white brothers, their presence here today is the proof, have understood that their destiny is linked to the our. The assault we mounted together for take away the bulwarks of injustice must be led by a bi-racial army. We can not walk alone in combat. And as we progress, we must commit to continuing to move forward together. We can not go back.
There are people who ask the Civil Rights activists: "When will you finally be satisfied? "We will never be satisfied as long as the black man is the victim of untold horrors of police brutality. We can not be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, will not find shelter in the motels of the highways or the hotels of the cities.
We can not be satisfied as long as the black man's freedom of movement will only allow him to go from a small ghetto to a larger ghetto. We will not be able to be satisfied as long as our children, even grown up, will not be treated as adults and will have their dignity flouted by the "Whites Only" signs. We can not be satisfied as long as a Mississippi black man can not vote and a New York black man will believe he has no reason to vote. No, we are not satisfied and will never be satisfied, as long as the law does not spring up like water, and justice as an inexhaustible torrent.
I am aware that some of you have been led here by an excess of trials and tribulations. Some are barely emerging from narrow prison cells. Others come from areas where their quest for freedom has earned them the beating of storms of persecution and the flurry of police brutality. You have been the heroes of creative suffering. Keep working with the certainty that undeserved suffering will be redemptive to you.
Return to Mississippi, return to Alabama, return to South Carolina, return to Georgia, return to Louisiana, return to the slums and ghettos of northern cities, knowing that in any way this situation can and will change. Let's not rest in the valley of despair.
I'm telling you here and now, my friends, although, yes, although we have to face difficulties today and tomorrow I always make this dream it is a dream deeply rooted in the American ideal. I dream that one day our country will rise and live fully the true reality of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal".
I dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and those of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of fraternity.
I dream that one day, even the state of Mississippi, a state where the fires of injustice and oppression burn, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I dream that my four grandchildren will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged on the color of their skinbut on the value of their character. I have a dream today!
I dream that one day, even in Alabama, with its abominable racists, with its mouth-to-mouth governor full of the words "opposition" and "annulment" of the federal laws, that there even in Alabama, one day the little black boys and the Little white girls will be able to join hands as brothers and sisters. I have a dream today!
I dream that one day the whole valley will be relieved, every hill and mountain will be lowered, the steep places will be leveled and the crooked paths straightened up, the glory of the Lord will be revealed to all being made of flesh.
This is our hope. It is the faith with which I return to the South.
With this faith, we will be able to distinguish in the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to turn the garish discords of our nation into a superb symphony of brotherhood.
With this faith, we will be able to work togetherto pray together, to fight together, to go to prison together, to defend the cause of freedom together, knowing that one day we will be free. It will be the day when all the children of God will be able to sing these words which will then have a new meaning: "My country, it is you, sweet land of freedom, it is you that I sing. Land where my fathers died, land whose pilgrims were proud, that the flank of each of your mountains, rings the bell of freedom! "And, if America is to be a great nation, let it become true.
Let the freedom bell ring from the hilly New Hampshire hills!
Let the bell of freedom ring from the heights of the grandiose mountains of New York State!
Let the freedom bell ring from the summits of the Pennsylvania Alleghanys!
Let the bell of freedom ring from the snowy peaks of Colorado's rocky mountains!
Let the bell of freedom ring from the harmonious slopes of California!
But this is not enough.
Let the freedom bell ring from the top of Mount Stone in Georgia!
Let the freedom bell ring from Mount Tennessee Lookout!
Let the freedom bell ring from every hill and hill in Mississippi! From the flank of each mountain, let the bell of freedom ring!
When we allow the bell of freedom to ring in every village, every hamlet, in every city and in every state, we will be able to celebrate the day when all God's children, blacks and whitesJews and non-Jews, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing the words of the old Negro Spiritual: " Finally free, finally freeThanks be to God Almighty, we are finally free! "."