Showing posts with label Martin Luther King Jr.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Martin Luther King Jr.. Show all posts

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Why did the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wear a lei on his famous 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, his relationship with Akaka and other Hawaii ties of the great civil rights leader: a special report

Martin Luther King Jr. wearing lei
Ever wonder why the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders on that famous march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. wore lei? Turns out King had special ties to the Aloha State, and to the family of former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

It's altogether fitting that the Hawaii Legislature opens its annual session this week as the state and the rest of the nation commemorate what would have been King's 88th birthday. King, in his 1959 address to a special session of the Hawaii Legislature, praised Hawaii for its ethnic diversity.

"We look to you for inspiration and as a noble example, where you have already accomplished in the area of racial harmony and racial justice, what we are struggling to accomplish in other sections of the country, and you can never know what it means to those of us caught for the moment in the tragic and often dark midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to come to a place where we see the glowing daybreak of freedom and dignity and racial justice," King said in his address.

Five years after those words, King carried a bit of Hawaii to Alabama. That five-day, 54-mile march from Selma, where an Alabama state trooper had shot and killed church deacon Jimmie Lee Jackson, to the state capital, helped bring King to the forefront of the nation's imagination, spurring the cause of nonviolent protest that would be picked up and championed by an entire generation, fomenting the hope of equality for all mankind.

The lei were no artifice. King had strong Hawaii ties, from his 1959 address to the Hawaii Legislature to his relationship with the Rev. Abraham Kahikina Akaka, older brother of Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. Abraham Akaka, kahu (shepherd) of Kawaiahao Church in Honolulu, developed a close friendship with King when King came to Honolulu in 1964 to participate in a Civil Rights Week symposium at the University of Hawaii, according to Akaka's obituary in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.  Abraham Akaka later sent the lei to King as a gift, according to a 1991 article in Jet Magazine by Simeon Booker.

Here's the text of King's speech, as recorded in the Journal of the Hawaii House of Representatives:

The following remarks were made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Thursday, September 17, 1959 at the Hawaii House of Representatives 1959 First Special Session:

“Mr. Speaker, distinguished members of the House of Representatives of this great new state in our Union, ladies and gentlemen:

It is certainly a delightful privilege and pleasure for me to have this great opportunity and, I shall say, it is a great honor to come before you today and to have the privilege of saying just a few words to you about some of the pressing problems confronting our nation and our world.

I come to you with a great deal of appreciation and great feeling of appreciation, I should say, for what has been accomplished in this beautiful setting and in this beautiful state of our Union. As I think of the struggle that we are engaged in in the South land, we look to you for inspiration and as a noble example, where you have already accomplished in the area of racial harmony and racial justice, what we are struggling to accomplish in other sections of the country, and you can never know what it means to those of us caught for the moment in the tragic and often dark midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to come to a place where we see the glowing daybreak of freedom and dignity and racial justice.

People ask me from time to time as I travel across the country and over the world whether there has been any real progress in the area of race relations, and I always answer it by saying that there are three basic attitudes that one can take toward the question of progress in the area of race relations. One can take the attitude of extreme optimism. The extreme optimist would contend that we have come a long, long way in the area of race relations, and he would point proudly to the strides that have been made in the area of civil rights in the last few decades. And, from this, he would conclude that the problem is just about solved now and that we can sit down comfortably by the wayside and wait on the coming of the inevitable.

And then segregation is still with us. Although we have seen the walls gradually crumble, it is still with us. I imply that figuratively speaking, that Old Man Segregation is on his death bed, but you know history has proven that social systems have a great last-minute breathing power, and the guardians of the status quo are always on hand with their oxygen tents to keep the old order alive, and this is exactly what we see today. So segregation is still with us. We are confronted in the South in its glaring and conspicuous forms, and we are confronted in almost every other section of the nation in its hidden and subtle forms. But if democracy is to live, segregation must die. Segregation is a cancer in the body politic which must be removed before our democratic health can be realized. In a real sense, the shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of an anemic democracy. If we are to survive, if we are to stand as a force in the world, if we are to maintain our prestige, we must solve this problem because people are looking over to America.

Just two years ago I traveled all over Africa and talked with leaders from that great continent. One of the things they said to me was this: No amount of extensive handouts and beautiful words would be substitutes for treating our brothers in the United States as first-class citizens and human beings. This came to me from mouth of Prime Minister Nkrumah of Ghana.

Just four months ago, I traveled throughout India and the Middle East and talked with many of the people and leaders of that great country and other people in the Middle East, and these are the things they talked about: That we must solve this problem if we are to stand and to maintain our prestige. And I can remember very vividly meeting people all over Europe and in the Middle East and in the Far East, and even though many of them could not speak English, they knew how to say ‘Little Rock.’

And these are the things that we must be concerned about – we must be concerned about because we love America and we are out to free not only the Negro. This is not our struggle today to free 17,000,000 Negroes. It’s bigger than that. We are seeking to free the soul of America. Segregation debilitates the white man as well as the Negro. We are to free all men, all races and all groups. This is our responsibility and this is our challenge, and we look to this great new state in our Union as the example and as the inspiration. As we move on in this realm, let us move on with the faith that this problem can be solved, and that it will be solved, believing firmly that all reality hinges on moral foundations, and we are struggling for what is right, and we are destined to win.

We have come a long, long way. We have a long, long way to go. I close, if you will permit me, by quoting the words of an old Negro slave preacher. He didn’t quite have his grammar right, but he uttered some words in the form of a prayer with great symbolic profundity and these are the works he said: ‘Lord, we ain’t what we want to be; we ain’t what we ought to be; we ain’t what we gonna be, but thank God, we ain’t what we was.’ Thank you.”

At the conclusion of his address, there was much applause.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Why did the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wear a lei on his famous 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, his relationship with Akaka and other Hawaii ties of the great civil rights leader: a special report

historical photo from 1965 march
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights leaders wear lei during their 1965 march
Ever wonder why the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders on that famous march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. wore lei? Turns out King had special ties to the Aloha State, and to the family of U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

It's altogether fitting that the Hawaii Legislature opens its annual session this week as the state and the rest of the nation commemorate what would have been King's 83rd birthday. King, in his 1959 address to a special session of the Hawaii Legislature, praised Hawaii for its ethnic diversity.

"We look to you for inspiration and as a noble example, where you have already accomplished in the area of racial harmony and racial justice, what we are struggling to accomplish in other sections of the country, and you can never know what it means to those of us caught for the moment in the tragic and often dark midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to come to a place where we see the glowing daybreak of freedom and dignity and racial justice," King said in his address.

Five years after those words, King carried a bit of Hawaii to Alabama. That five-day, 54-mile march from Selma, where an Alabama state trooper had shot and killed church deacon Jimmie Lee Jackson, to the state capital, helped bring King to the forefront of the nation's imagination, spurring the cause of nonviolent protest that would be picked up and championed by an entire generation, fomenting the hope of equality for all mankind.

The lei were no artifice. King had strong Hawaii ties, from his 1959 address to the Hawaii Legislature to his relationship with the Rev. Abraham Kahikina Akaka, older brother of Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. Abraham Akaka, kahu (shepherd) of Kawaiahao Church in Honolulu, developed a close friendship with King when King came to Honolulu in 1964 to participate in a Civil Rights Week symposium at the University of Hawaii, according to Akaka's obituary in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.  Abraham Akaka later sent the lei to King as a gift, according to a 1991 article in Jet Magazine by Simeon Booker.

Here's the text of King's speech, as recorded in the Journal of the Hawaii House of Representatives:

The following remarks were made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Thursday, September 17, 1959 at the Hawaii House of Representatives 1959 First Special Session:

“Mr. Speaker, distinguished members of the House of Representatives of this great new state in our Union, ladies and gentlemen:

It is certainly a delightful privilege and pleasure for me to have this great opportunity and, I shall say, it is a great honor to come before you today and to have the privilege of saying just a few words to you about some of the pressing problems confronting our nation and our world.

I come to you with a great deal of appreciation and great feeling of appreciation, I should say, for what has been accomplished in this beautiful setting and in this beautiful state of our Union. As I think of the struggle that we are engaged in in the South land, we look to you for inspiration and as a noble example, where you have already accomplished in the area of racial harmony and racial justice, what we are struggling to accomplish in other sections of the country, and you can never know what it means to those of us caught for the moment in the tragic and often dark midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to come to a place where we see the glowing daybreak of freedom and dignity and racial justice.

People ask me from time to time as I travel across the country and over the world whether there has been any real progress in the area of race relations, and I always answer it by saying that there are three basic attitudes that one can take toward the question of progress in the area of race relations. One can take the attitude of extreme optimism. The extreme optimist would contend that we have come a long, long way in the area of race relations, and he would point proudly to the strides that have been made in the area of civil rights in the last few decades. And, from this, he would conclude that the problem is just about solved now and that we can sit down comfortably by the wayside and wait on the coming of the inevitable.

And then segregation is still with us. Although we have seen the walls gradually crumble, it is still with us. I imply that figuratively speaking, that Old Man Segregation is on his death bed, but you know history has proven that social systems have a great last-minute breathing power, and the guardians of the status quo are always on hand with their oxygen tents to keep the old order alive, and this is exactly what we see today. So segregation is still with us. We are confronted in the South in its glaring and conspicuous forms, and we are confronted in almost every other section of the nation in its hidden and subtle forms. But if democracy is to live, segregation must die. Segregation is a cancer in the body politic which must be removed before our democratic health can be realized. In a real sense, the shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of an anemic democracy. If we are to survive, if we are to stand as a force in the world, if we are to maintain our prestige, we must solve this problem because people are looking over to America.

Just two years ago I traveled all over Africa and talked with leaders from that great continent. One of the things they said to me was this: No amount of extensive handouts and beautiful words would be substitutes for treating our brothers in the United States as first-class citizens and human beings. This came to me from mouth of Prime Minister Nkrumah of Ghana.

Just four months ago, I traveled throughout India and the Middle East and talked with many of the people and leaders of that great country and other people in the Middle East, and these are the things they talked about: That we must solve this problem if we are to stand and to maintain our prestige. And I can remember very vividly meeting people all over Europe and in the Middle East and in the Far East, and even though many of them could not speak English, they knew how to say ‘Little Rock.’

And these are the things that we must be concerned about – we must be concerned about because we love America and we are out to free not only the Negro. This is not our struggle today to free 17,000,000 Negroes. It’s bigger than that. We are seeking to free the soul of America. Segregation debilitates the white man as well as the Negro. We are to free all men, all races and all groups. This is our responsibility and this is our challenge, and we look to this great new state in our Union as the example and as the inspiration. As we move on in this realm, let us move on with the faith that this problem can be solved, and that it will be solved, believing firmly that all reality hinges on moral foundations, and we are struggling for what is right, and we are destined to win.

We have come a long, long way. We have a long, long way to go. I close, if you will permit me, by quoting the words of an old Negro slave preacher. He didn’t quite have his grammar right, but he uttered some words in the form of a prayer with great symbolic profundity and these are the works he said: ‘Lord, we ain’t what we want to be; we ain’t what we ought to be; we ain’t what we gonna be, but thank God, we ain’t what we was.’ Thank you.”

At the conclusion of his address, there was much applause.



Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King's wearing of lei, his historic address to the Hawaii Legislature and other Hawaii ties, a special report in honor of his day.

march from Selma to Montgomery
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights leaders wear lei during their 1965 march
Ever wonder why the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders on that famous march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. wore lei? Turns out King had special ties to the Aloha State, and to the family of U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

Hawaii and the rest of the nation on Monday commemorate what would have been King's 84rd birthday. King, in his 1959 address to a special session of the Hawaii Legislature, praised Hawaii for its ethnic diversity.

"We look to you for inspiration and as a noble example, where you have already accomplished in the area of racial harmony and racial justice, what we are struggling to accomplish in other sections of the country, and you can never know what it means to those of us caught for the moment in the tragic and often dark midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to come to a place where we see the glowing daybreak of freedom and dignity and racial justice," King said in his address.

Five years after those words, King carried a bit of Hawaii to Alabama. That five-day, 54-mile march from Selma, where an Alabama state trooper had shot and killed church deacon Jimmie Lee Jackson, to the state capital, helped bring King to the forefront of the nation's imagination, spurring the cause of nonviolent protest that would be picked up and championed by an entire generation, fomenting the hope of equality for all mankind.

The lei were no artifice. King had strong Hawaii ties, from his 1959 address to the Hawaii Legislature to his relationship with the Rev. Abraham Kahikina Akaka, older brother of Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. Abraham Akaka, kahu (shepherd) of Kawaiahao Church in Honolulu, developed a close friendship with King when King came to Honolulu in 1964 to participate in a Civil Rights Week symposium at the University of Hawaii, according to Akaka's obituary in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.  Abraham Akaka later sent the lei to King as a gift, according to a 1991 article in Jet Magazine by Simeon Booker.

Here's the text of King's speech, as recorded in the Journal of the Hawaii House of Representatives:

The following remarks were made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Thursday, September 17, 1959 at the Hawaii House of Representatives 1959 First Special Session:

“Mr. Speaker, distinguished members of the House of Representatives of this great new state in our Union, ladies and gentlemen:

It is certainly a delightful privilege and pleasure for me to have this great opportunity and, I shall say, it is a great honor to come before you today and to have the privilege of saying just a few words to you about some of the pressing problems confronting our nation and our world.

I come to you with a great deal of appreciation and great feeling of appreciation, I should say, for what has been accomplished in this beautiful setting and in this beautiful state of our Union. As I think of the struggle that we are engaged in in the South land, we look to you for inspiration and as a noble example, where you have already accomplished in the area of racial harmony and racial justice, what we are struggling to accomplish in other sections of the country, and you can never know what it means to those of us caught for the moment in the tragic and often dark midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to come to a place where we see the glowing daybreak of freedom and dignity and racial justice.

People ask me from time to time as I travel across the country and over the world whether there has been any real progress in the area of race relations, and I always answer it by saying that there are three basic attitudes that one can take toward the question of progress in the area of race relations. One can take the attitude of extreme optimism. The extreme optimist would contend that we have come a long, long way in the area of race relations, and he would point proudly to the strides that have been made in the area of civil rights in the last few decades. And, from this, he would conclude that the problem is just about solved now and that we can sit down comfortably by the wayside and wait on the coming of the inevitable.

And then segregation is still with us. Although we have seen the walls gradually crumble, it is still with us. I imply that figuratively speaking, that Old Man Segregation is on his death bed, but you know history has proven that social systems have a great last-minute breathing power, and the guardians of the status quo are always on hand with their oxygen tents to keep the old order alive, and this is exactly what we see today. So segregation is still with us. We are confronted in the South in its glaring and conspicuous forms, and we are confronted in almost every other section of the nation in its hidden and subtle forms. But if democracy is to live, segregation must die. Segregation is a cancer in the body politic which must be removed before our democratic health can be realized. In a real sense, the shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of an anemic democracy. If we are to survive, if we are to stand as a force in the world, if we are to maintain our prestige, we must solve this problem because people are looking over to America.

Just two years ago I traveled all over Africa and talked with leaders from that great continent. One of the things they said to me was this: No amount of extensive handouts and beautiful words would be substitutes for treating our brothers in the United States as first-class citizens and human beings. This came to me from mouth of Prime Minister Nkrumah of Ghana.

Just four months ago, I traveled throughout India and the Middle East and talked with many of the people and leaders of that great country and other people in the Middle East, and these are the things they talked about: That we must solve this problem if we are to stand and to maintain our prestige. And I can remember very vividly meeting people all over Europe and in the Middle East and in the Far East, and even though many of them could not speak English, they knew how to say ‘Little Rock.’

And these are the things that we must be concerned about – we must be concerned about because we love America and we are out to free not only the Negro. This is not our struggle today to free 17,000,000 Negroes. It’s bigger than that. We are seeking to free the soul of America. Segregation debilitates the white man as well as the Negro. We are to free all men, all races and all groups. This is our responsibility and this is our challenge, and we look to this great new state in our Union as the example and as the inspiration. As we move on in this realm, let us move on with the faith that this problem can be solved, and that it will be solved, believing firmly that all reality hinges on moral foundations, and we are struggling for what is right, and we are destined to win.

We have come a long, long way. We have a long, long way to go. I close, if you will permit me, by quoting the words of an old Negro slave preacher. He didn’t quite have his grammar right, but he uttered some words in the form of a prayer with great symbolic profundity and these are the works he said: ‘Lord, we ain’t what we want to be; we ain’t what we ought to be; we ain’t what we gonna be, but thank God, we ain’t what we was.’ Thank you.”

At the conclusion of his address, there was much applause.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cruise ships returning to Hawaii, state preps for legislative session, Yagong announces candidacy for Hawaii County mayor, security zone planned for Molokai harbor, 30 new citizens to be sworn in, Maui wants to replace flume, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Cruising in Hawaii (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
More people are setting sail for Hawaii. More than 104,000 travelers arrived in the islands on cruise ships -- mostly from the West Coast -- in the first 11 months of last year, according to the most recent data available. That's a 14.5 percent increase from the same period in 2010. Associated Press.

2012 Who's Who Legislative Guide. Star-Advertiser.

Expediting Hawaii's excruciatingly slow economic recovery will be a top priority for East Hawaii's all-Democratic legislative delegation, which returns to work on Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

When asked what their priorities are for the legislative session starting Wednesday, Maui's three state senators had some different projects in mind but agreed that job creation will likely dominate their time. Maui News.

After their salaries are restored to 2009 levels in July 2013, Hawaii teachers would get a raise every year that they receive at least an "effective" performance rating, under a tentative contract with the state. Civil Beat.

Attorneys and advocates, academics and activists alike gathered Saturday to honor the life and legacy of University of Hawaii law professor Jon Van Dyke. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu

Thirty new American citizens will be sworn in by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Honolulu on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Associated Press.

As part of today's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will welcome 30 new U.S. citizens. Star-Advertiser.

City government offices will be closed on Monday, January 16, in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal and state holiday. KITV4.

A developer plans to spend more than $7 million to build nine big T-shaped breakwaters off Iroquois Point beach to protect a rental community, stop erosion and replenish sand fronting former Navy housing near the mouth of Pearl Harbor. Star-Advertiser.

A Wahiawa senior center remains in violation of federal grants rules, according to a Jan. 12 letter to Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Civil Beat.

State Rep. Jo Jordan plans to return to an oft-flooded section of Puhawai Road in Waianae this morning with more than 60 volunteers to cut back branches and clear debris from an area that will undergo millions of dollars of flood-prevention work over the next several years. Star-Advertiser.

They call themselves the mangrove manglers.  Members of the Kailua Canoe Club and several volunteers took to Ka'elepulu stream Sunday to clear-out the invasive trees, that are threatening their practice area. KHON2.

Hawaii

If Dominic Yagong had a slogan in his campaign for mayor, it would likely be, "Grr. How you gonna pay for it?" West Hawaii Today.

Surrounded by three generations of family members, County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong announced Saturday that he's running for Hawaii County mayor. Tribune-Herald.

Solid waste. West Hawaii Today.

In the short term, it costs a lot more to recycle than to just toss everything in the landfill. But landfill life is limited, and creating a new lined landfill under updated Environmental Protection Agency rules could run into the millions of dollars. West Hawaii Today.

At least $2.9 million of county money has been dumped into solid waste studies, plans and applications since 1990, a West Hawaii Today review of the county's trash history showed. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

County water department officials are asking for $13 million to move forward with a project to replace the aging Waikamoi Flume. Maui News.

Contractors are hoping to finish work on a $16 million overhaul of Maalaea Small Boat Harbor by this fall - five months ahead of schedule, the project manager said Friday. Maui News.

Kauai

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority — in partnership with the counties of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, Maui and Honolulu — have selected more than 100 community and cultural events and programs to receive funding under its County Product Enrichment Program this year. Nineteen Kaua‘i County programs are among them. Garden Island.

The Pono Kai seawall, heavily damaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, was rebuilt a year later. Since then, forces of nature kept taking the sand fronting the wall and eroding its foundation until a replacement wall became the county’s choice rather than fixing it. Garden Island.

Molokai


The U.S. Coast Guard will enforce a temporary "security zone" around Kaunakakai Harbor when the Safari Explorer cruise ship resumes visits to Molokai this week. Maui News.

The State of Hawaii and Coast Guard will host a public meeting Tuesday about the security plan for when American Safari Cruises resumes port calls for Kaunakakai Harbor on Molokai. Pacific Business News.

The state of Hawai’i and the US Coast Guard will hold a community meeting to present the security plan for the resumption of port calls by American Safari Cruises to Kaunakakai Harbor on Moloka’i. Maui Now.

Following progress made on Molokai about the future of Kaunakakai Harbor, the state of Hawaii and the U.S. Coast Guard will hold a community meeting to present the security plan for the resumption of port calls by American Safari Cruises. Molokai Dispatch.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why did the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wear a lei on his famous 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, his relationship with Akaka and other Hawaii ties of the great civil rights leader: a special report

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights leaders wear lei during their 1965 march
Ever wonder why the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders on that famous march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. wore lei? Turns out King had special ties to the Aloha State, and to the family of U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

It's altogether fitting that the Hawaii Legislature opens its annual session this week as the state and the rest of the nation commemorate what would have been King's 83rd birthday. King, in his 1959 address to a special session of the Hawaii Legislature, praised Hawaii for its ethnic diversity.

"We look to you for inspiration and as a noble example, where you have already accomplished in the area of racial harmony and racial justice, what we are struggling to accomplish in other sections of the country, and you can never know what it means to those of us caught for the moment in the tragic and often dark midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to come to a place where we see the glowing daybreak of freedom and dignity and racial justice," King said in his address.

Five years after those words, King carried a bit of Hawaii to Alabama. That five-day, 54-mile march from Selma, where an Alabama state trooper had shot and killed church deacon Jimmie Lee Jackson, to the state capital, helped bring King to the forefront of the nation's imagination, spurring the cause of nonviolent protest that would be picked up and championed by an entire generation, fomenting the hope of equality for all mankind.

The lei were no artifice. King had strong Hawaii ties, from his 1959 address to the Hawaii Legislature to his relationship with the Rev. Abraham Kahikina Akaka, older brother of Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. Abraham Akaka, kahu (shepherd) of Kawaiahao Church in Honolulu, developed a close friendship with King when King came to Honolulu in 1964 to participate in a Civil Rights Week symposium at the University of Hawaii, according to Akaka's obituary in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.  Abraham Akaka later sent the lei to King as a gift, according to a 1991 article in Jet Magazine by Simeon Booker.

Here's the text of King's speech, as recorded in the Journal of the Hawaii House of Representatives:

The following remarks were made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Thursday, September 17, 1959 at the Hawaii House of Representatives 1959 First Special Session:

“Mr. Speaker, distinguished members of the House of Representatives of this great new state in our Union, ladies and gentlemen:

It is certainly a delightful privilege and pleasure for me to have this great opportunity and, I shall say, it is a great honor to come before you today and to have the privilege of saying just a few words to you about some of the pressing problems confronting our nation and our world.

I come to you with a great deal of appreciation and great feeling of appreciation, I should say, for what has been accomplished in this beautiful setting and in this beautiful state of our Union. As I think of the struggle that we are engaged in in the South land, we look to you for inspiration and as a noble example, where you have already accomplished in the area of racial harmony and racial justice, what we are struggling to accomplish in other sections of the country, and you can never know what it means to those of us caught for the moment in the tragic and often dark midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to come to a place where we see the glowing daybreak of freedom and dignity and racial justice.

People ask me from time to time as I travel across the country and over the world whether there has been any real progress in the area of race relations, and I always answer it by saying that there are three basic attitudes that one can take toward the question of progress in the area of race relations. One can take the attitude of extreme optimism. The extreme optimist would contend that we have come a long, long way in the area of race relations, and he would point proudly to the strides that have been made in the area of civil rights in the last few decades. And, from this, he would conclude that the problem is just about solved now and that we can sit down comfortably by the wayside and wait on the coming of the inevitable.

And then segregation is still with us. Although we have seen the walls gradually crumble, it is still with us. I imply that figuratively speaking, that Old Man Segregation is on his death bed, but you know history has proven that social systems have a great last-minute breathing power, and the guardians of the status quo are always on hand with their oxygen tents to keep the old order alive, and this is exactly what we see today. So segregation is still with us. We are confronted in the South in its glaring and conspicuous forms, and we are confronted in almost every other section of the nation in its hidden and subtle forms. But if democracy is to live, segregation must die. Segregation is a cancer in the body politic which must be removed before our democratic health can be realized. In a real sense, the shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of an anemic democracy. If we are to survive, if we are to stand as a force in the world, if we are to maintain our prestige, we must solve this problem because people are looking over to America.

Just two years ago I traveled all over Africa and talked with leaders from that great continent. One of the things they said to me was this: No amount of extensive handouts and beautiful words would be substitutes for treating our brothers in the United States as first-class citizens and human beings. This came to me from mouth of Prime Minister Nkrumah of Ghana.

Just four months ago, I traveled throughout India and the Middle East and talked with many of the people and leaders of that great country and other people in the Middle East, and these are the things they talked about: That we must solve this problem if we are to stand and to maintain our prestige. And I can remember very vividly meeting people all over Europe and in the Middle East and in the Far East, and even though many of them could not speak English, they knew how to say ‘Little Rock.’

And these are the things that we must be concerned about – we must be concerned about because we love America and we are out to free not only the Negro. This is not our struggle today to free 17,000,000 Negroes. It’s bigger than that. We are seeking to free the soul of America. Segregation debilitates the white man as well as the Negro. We are to free all men, all races and all groups. This is our responsibility and this is our challenge, and we look to this great new state in our Union as the example and as the inspiration. As we move on in this realm, let us move on with the faith that this problem can be solved, and that it will be solved, believing firmly that all reality hinges on moral foundations, and we are struggling for what is right, and we are destined to win.

We have come a long, long way. We have a long, long way to go. I close, if you will permit me, by quoting the words of an old Negro slave preacher. He didn’t quite have his grammar right, but he uttered some words in the form of a prayer with great symbolic profundity and these are the works he said: ‘Lord, we ain’t what we want to be; we ain’t what we ought to be; we ain’t what we gonna be, but thank God, we ain’t what we was.’ Thank you.”

At the conclusion of his address, there was much applause.