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Dublin in Laurens County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Where the Dream Began

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s First Speech

— First African Baptist Church, 1944 —

 
 
Where the Dream Began Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 9, 2021
1. Where the Dream Began Marker
(centerpiece of Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park)
Inscription.  
“The Negro and the Constitution”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Negroes were first brought to America in 1620 when England legalized slavery both in England and the colonies and America; the institution grew and thrived for about 150 years upon the backs of these black men. The empire of King Cotton was built and the southland maintained a status of life and hospitality distinctly its own and not anywhere else.

On January 1, 1863 the proclamation emancipating the slaves which had been decreed by President Lincoln in September took effect—millions of Negroes faced a rising sun of a new day begun. Did they have habits of thrift or principles of honesty and integrity? Only a few! For their teachings and duties had been but two activities—love of Master, right or wrong, good or bad, and loyalty to work. What was to be the place for such men in the reconstruction of the south?

America gave its full pledge of freedom seventy-five years ago. Slavery has been a strange paradox in a nation founded on the principles that all men are created free and equal. Finally after tumult and war, the nation in 1865 took a new stand—freedom
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for all people. The new order was backed by amendments to the national constitution making it the fundamental law that thenceforth there should be no discrimination anywhere in the “land of the free” on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.

Black America still wears chains. The finest Negro is at the mercy of the meanest white man. Even winners of our highest honors face the class color bar. Look at a few of the paradoxes that mark daily life in America. Marian Anderson was barred from singing in the Constitution Hall, ironically enough, by the professional daughters of the very men who founded this nation for liberty and equality. But this tale had a different ending. The nation rose in protest, and gave a stunning rebuke to the Daughters of the American Revolution and a tremendous ovation to the artist, Marian Anderson, who sang in Washington on Easter Sunday and fittingly, before the Lincoln Memorial. Ranking cabinet members and a justice of the Supreme Court were seated about her. Seventy-five thousand people stood patiently for hours to hear a great artist at a historic moment. She sang as never before with tears in her eyes. When the words of “America” and “Nobody Knows De Trouble I Seen” rang out over that great gathering, there was a hush on the sea of uplifted faces, black and white, and a new baptism of liberty, equality and fraternity. That
Where the Dream Began Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 9, 2021
2. Where the Dream Began Marker
(marker/speech transcript are centerpiece of monument • First African Baptist Church is across street in background)
was a touching tribute, but Miss Anderson may not as yet spend the night in any good hotel in America. Recently she was again singly honored by being given the Bok reward as the most distinguished resident of Philadelphia. Yet she cannot be served in many of the public restaurants of her home city, even after it has declared her to be its best citizen.

So, with their right hand they raise to high places the great who have dark skins, and with their left, they slap us down to keep us in “our places.” “Yes, America you have stripped me of my garments, you have robbed me of my precious endowment.”

We cannot have an enlightened democracy with one great group living in ignorance. We cannot have a healthy nation with one tenth of the people ill-nourished, sick, harboring germs of disease which recognize no color lines—obey no Jim Crow laws. We cannot have a nation orderly and sound with one group so ground down and thwarted that it is almost forced into unsocial attitudes and crime. We cannot be truly Christian people so long as we flaunt the central teachings of Jesus: brotherly love and the Golden Rule. We cannot come to full prosperity with one great group so ill-delayed that it cannot buy goods. So as we gird ourselves to defend democracy from foreign attack, let us see to it that increasingly at home we give fair play and free opportunity for all people.

Today
Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 9, 2021
3. Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park
(marker is on reverse side of this wall)
thirteen million black sons and daughters of our forefathers continue the fight for the translation of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments from writing on the printed page to an actuality. We believe with them that “if freedom is good for any it is good for all,” that we may conquer southern armies by the sword, but it is another thing to conquer southern hate, that if the franchise is given to Negroes, they will be vigilant and defend even with their arms, the ark of federal liberty from treason and destruction by her enemies.

The spirit of Lincoln still lives; that spirit born of the teachings of the Nazarene, who promised mercy to the merciful, who lifted the lowly, strengthened the weak, ate with publicans, and made the captives free. In the light of this divine example, the doctrines of demagogues shiver in their chaff. Already closer understanding links Saxon and Freedman in mutual sympathy.

America experiences a new birth of freedom in her sons and daughters; she incarnates the spirit of her martyred chief. Their loyalty is repledged; their devotion renewed to the work He left unfinished. My heart throbs anew in the hope that inspired by the example of Lincoln, imbued with the spirit of Christ, they will cast down the last barrier to perfect freedom. And I with my brother of blackest hue possessing at last my rightful heritage and holding my head erect, may
Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 9, 2021
4. Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park
stand beside the Saxon—a Negro—and yet a man!
April 17, 1944
First African Baptist Church, Dublin, Georgia
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & ReligionCivil Rights. In addition, it is included in the Martin Luther King, Jr. series list. A significant historical date for this entry is April 17, 1944.
 
Location. 32° 32.137′ N, 82° 54.405′ W. Marker is in Dublin, Georgia, in Laurens County. Marker is at the intersection of Telfair Street (U.S. 441) and Church Street, on the left when traveling north on Telfair Street. Marker is the centerpiece of Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park, at the northwest corner of the intersection. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 317 Telfair Street, Dublin GA 31021, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s First Public Speech (within shouting distance of this marker); Carnegie Library (approx. ¼ mile away); Captain Hardy Smith House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Laurens County Honor Roll (approx. 0.3 miles away); Laurens County (approx. 0.4 miles away); Jefferson Davis (approx. 1.1 miles away); a different marker also named Jefferson Davis (approx. 1.1 miles
Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 9, 2021
5. Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park
away); Vallombrosa Plantation of Governor George Michael Troup (approx. 8.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dublin.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .  "The Negro and the Constitution". On 13 April 1944, in his junior year at Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High School, King, Jr., won an oratorical contest sponsored by the black Elks. With the runner-up at Washington High, Hiram Kendall, he won the right to represent the school at the statewide contest held at First Baptist Church in Dublin, Georgia. According to later accounts, during the bus trip to the contest, King and his teacher, Sarah Grace Bradley, were told by the driver to surrender their seats to newly boarding white passengers. King resisted at first, but his teacher finally persuaded him to leave his seat. They stood for several hours during the bus ride to Atlanta. (Submitted on October 24, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
First African Baptist Church<br>Dublin, Georgia image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 9, 2021
6. First African Baptist Church
Dublin, Georgia
(directly south of Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park)
Site of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s first public speech.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 24, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 24, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 237 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 24, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Apr. 15, 2024