"Say it plain, that many have died for this day"


A dream, a speech, a praisesong, a rhyme. The day after the commemoration of Martin Luther King’s birth, and almost 45 years since he dreamed, we marched. Black, white, yellow, brown, red, old, young, straight, gay, trans, on feet, some aided by canes or wheelchairs, we who had had the audacity to hope let out a collective exhale.

He who had inspired us to chose “hope over fear,” spoke to us who had gathered in his honor, his mouth–not filled with false promises but with a clear articulation of the challenges ahead. He who asked us to hope and to demand change charged us to remember that we are that hope and we are that change.

She praised the words/people/workers of the everyday. She conjured the dead who had toiled and prayed so that we might dream, hope, and live. She announced bravely that love is a/the political act.

He prayed for healing and union–to “turn to each other, not on each other.” He reminded us that though “we have come over a way that with tears has been watered,” we are not finished. We have only just begun.

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About jennifer williams

Jennifer D. Williams is a writer and professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies. She has published in academic journals and online at Ms.blog, PopMatters, among other sites. Jennifer is currently working on a book that looks at black women's urban literature between the Depression and the civil rights era.

3 responses to “"Say it plain, that many have died for this day"

  1. This is great jen. Keep on keeping on!Chmo.

  2. Wow! That was excellent Jen.Keep on keeping on with tha dope science.

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