On August 28, 1963, at the climax of the March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The speech he delivered blended different materials — new, old, preacherly improvisation — and a variety of themes. He called for equal voting rights nationwide, and for liberal social policies. “We cannot be satisfied as long as a colored person in Mississippi cannot vote and a colored person in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.” He iterated his commitment to nonviolence, as if he foresaw the gangsters and visionary crackpots who would …
This article appears as “Redeeming the ‘Promissory Note’” in the January 24, 2022, print edition of National Review.
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