In years past, we have commemorated today’s federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., by posting his great “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered August 28, 1963 in Washington, and urged parents to read it to their children. Truly, with its edifying, powerful entreaty for justice and brotherhood, it is speech all Americans should know, and we commend it again to you today.
In addition, we offer another speech for your consideration, one The Reverend King gave more than a year after his remarks at the Lincoln Memorial. On December 10, 1964, he accepted the Nobel Prize for Peace in Oslo, Norway, making a moving case for passive resistance and invoking, again, his faith in America, in mankind.
I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.
Today, as we recall and honor Martin Luther King’s works — and of all those who sacrificed for freedom — we affirm: That faith abides.
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