Monday, August 28, 2023

Quote of the Day (Taylor Branch, on MLK and the March on Washington)

“[Martin Luther] King's ‘I Have a Dream’ speech abides. Contrary to popular impression then and lingering insistence today, he did not win favor by promising that African Americans would behave like white people. He said nearly the opposite, quite plainly. His ringing conclusion invited polyglot America — ‘all God's children’ — to join hands and sing a Negro spiritual, so that everyone, for that moment, could share inspirations forged during slavery. King invoked a larger patriotism in which people of every stripe reach from tiptoe stance across divisions between them. Free citizenship requires meeting each other halfway to build ties of comfort and strength. King's burden was not the tiptoe stance itself but flat-footed disregard on the other side. His reward was small miracles of common purpose that made ‘movement’ the watchword of national politics.”—Historian Taylor Branch, “Pulitzer Prize Winner Taylor Branch Reflects on 1963 March,” USA Today, Aug. 27, 2013

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