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Unformatted text preview: 37 37 Chapter 3 A NALYZING S ITUATIONS [I wish I could sing!] I speak to you as an American Jew. As Americans we share the profound concern of millions of people about the shame and disgrace of in- equality and injustice which make a mockery of the great American idea. As Jews we bring to [this] great demonstration, in which thousands of us proudly partici- pate, a two-fold experienceone of the spirit and one of our history. In the realm of the spirit, our fathers taught us thousands of years ago that when God created man, he created him as everybodys neighbor. Neighbor is not a geographic term; it is a moral concept. It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of mans dignity and integrity. From our Jewish historic experience of three and a half thousand years we say: Our ancient history began with slavery and the yearning for freedom. During the Middle Ages my people lived for a thousand years in the ghettos of Europe. Our modern history begins with a proclamation of emancipation. It is for these reasons that it is not merely sympathy and compassion for the Black people of America that motivates us. It is above all and beyond all such sym- pathies and emotions a sense of complete identification and solidarity born of our own historic experience. [Friends], When I was . . . [in] . . . the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned in my life, and under those tragic circumstances, is that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shame- ful, and the most tragic problem is silence. A great people which had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent onlookers. They remained silent in the face of hate, in the face of brutality, and in the face of mass murder. CH03.QXD 7/30/2004 9:04 AM Page 37 38 UNIT II: GENERAL FORMS OF CRITICISM America must not become a nation of onlookers. America must not remain silentnot merely Black America, but all of America. It must speak up and act from the President down to the humblest of us, and not for the sake of the Negro, not for the sake of the Black community, but for the sake of the image, [the dream], the idea, and the aspiration of America itself. Our children, yours and mine, in every school across the land, every morning pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the Republic for which it stands, and then they, the children, speak fervently and innocently of this land as the land of liberty and justice for all. The time, I believe, has come for us to work together, for it is not enough to hope togetherfor it is not enough to pray togetherto work together, that this childrens oathpronounced every morning from Maine to California, from North and Souththat this oath will become a glorious, unshakable reality in a morally renewed and united America. [Thank you.] This chapter begins with a question: Who gave this speech? Here are sev-This chapter begins with a question: Who gave this speech?...
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