“Move down into the inner resources of [your] own soul and sign with pen and ink of self-assertive manhood [your] own Emancipation Proclamation.”
Today as we remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let’s also remember these words from the inspirational leader:
“I come here tonight to plead with you: Believe in yourself, and believe that you’re somebody!
“I said to a group last night, nobody else can do this for us. No document can do this for us. Not even an Emancipation Proclamation can do this for us. Nor can a Johnsonian Civil Rights Bill do this for us.
“If the negro is to be free, he must move down into the inner resources of his own soul and sign with a pen and ink of self-assertive manhood his own Emancipation Proclamation.
“Don’t let anybody take your manhood. Be proud of our heritage. As somebody said earlier tonight, we don’t have anything to be ashamed of.
“Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionary and see the synonyms of the word ‘black.’ It’s always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word ‘white,’ it’s always something pure and high and clean. But I want to get the language right tonight. I want to get the language so right that everybody here will cry out, ‘Yes, I’m black, I’m proud of it! I’m black and beautiful!'”