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"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
These were the words of a prophet—on the next day the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr, would die at the hands of an assassin.
I think too often King is remembered as a man that fought for the civil rights of black people. But I don't remember him that way and don't read that message in his speeches. Certainly the crowds that gathered for his speeches were heavily black but his words were always to a broader audience, the audience of all people, and his message was of freedom and equality for all people.
He knew that inequality for any man meant there could be inequality for all men and, also, that what we openly grant to all others, we preserve for ourselves.
On this day that we celebrate his birth, I wish to recognize the huge gift that he secured for all people in this country and for so many across the planet.
I know he did see the promised land, and, by the power of his message, he took many to view the promised land. Our journey since his death has taken us closer to the promised land. We have not arrived but we are closer than we have ever been in history. If we keep our path forward to the promised land, we shall arrive. We, as a people, will get to the promised land.
I'm proud that the vision and promise that Martin Luther King, Jr, shared with all of us is closer to reality today than ever before. I'm not worried—we will get there.
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