I Have a Dream
by Martin Luther King, Jr.
In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a CHEQUE.
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 CHEQUE, a CHEQUE 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 CHEQUE, a CHEQUE that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice...
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 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."
(This is not the complete text of the speech, I have chosen only a few paragraphs)