Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Let Freedom Ring

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!
— Dr. Martin Luther King, August 28, 1963

On this day in 1955, while visiting family in Money, Mississippi, African-American teenager Emmett Till was brutally murdered after speaking “inappropriately” to a white woman. His death was one of the key events leading up the American Civil Rights Movement.

Emmett was buried on September 6 in Illinois, with his mother, Mamie Carthan, insisting on an open-coffin funeral, so that “all the world [could] see what they did to my son.” Roy Bryant and his half-brother, JW Milam were indicted in Mississippi by a grand jury for the killing, but when the all-white jury came back from deliberations on September 23 after just 67 minutes, the two defendants were acquitted.

One hundred days after Emmett’s death, a black woman, Rosa Parks, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus and was arrested for violating Alabama’s bus segregation laws. The Women’s Democratic Council, under Jo Ann Robinson, called for a citywide bus boycott and asked a young, 26-year-old minister to help. His name was Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

Less than ten years later, on this same day in 1963, led by that same passionate young minister, an estimated one-quarter to one-half million people converged at the Lincoln Memorial for the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” the largest single protest demonstration in US history, organized to support sweeping civil rights measures.

I remember that day, for I was ten years old and I watched it on television with my heart overflowing with joy, hope and affirmation. I was old enough to see for myself the love, the truth and the power of their cause, but young enough to still be oblivious to the hostile response of my privileged white family.

Yes, this is the very day when Dr. Martin Luther King spoke the words that still send shivers through my soul and bring tears to my eyes:

“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…

“And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

“Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

“But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi – from every mountainside.

“Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring – when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children – black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics – will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

I pray that we will finally, at long last, be ringing out that freedom for all: for it chimes tonight from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let America at long last prove that we will choose our leaders, not for the color of their skin, but for the content of their character.

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  • August 28, 2008, 12:13 pm Maritzia

    Beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    I was just a baby at this time, but I’ve seen Dr. King’s speech so many times. It always sends a shiver down my back, that shiver that tells me, “This is Truth”.

    Thank you again for reminding us of Truth.

  • August 28, 2008, 7:18 pm Julie in Boston

    thank you for the beautiful column. I have had nearly no time to visit your site lately and am glad I chose today to do so while I wait to hear Barack’s speech.

    I have noticed that whenever I pin on my “Obama 08” button, I become more aware of my impact on the world. Not only do I have hope that my actions will matter, but I want them to represent the best I can be. I feel like finally we can live up to our ideals instead of just keeping them in the background somewhere while we go about our daily work.