"IF AMERICA IS TO REMAIN A FIRST-CLASS NATION, SHE CAN NO LONGER HAVE SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS": MLK'S 1961 LINCOLN UNIVERSITY ADDRESS, "THE AMERICAN DREAM"
KING, Martin Luther, Jr. The American Dream. Lincoln University, PA: Lincoln University, 1961. Octavo, original printed paper wrappers, staple-bound as issued; pp. 16. $9500.
First edition of the transcription of King's 1961 address accepting an honorary Doctorate of Law at Lincoln University.
Founded in 1854 as the first degree-granting HBCU (Historically Black College or University) in the United States, Lincoln University conferred an honorary Doctorate of Law upon Martin Luther King, Jr. at its 1961 commencement. In this address, King speaks to a rising generation of Black Americans about the promises of America and how those promises still don't apply to them. Part of their legacy as they leave the University will be to acknowledge this and battle against the white supremacist structures designed to hold them back. "America is essentially a dream, a dream as yet unfulfilled… America has been something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against herself. On the one hand we have proudly professed the principles of democracy, and on the other hand we have sadly practiced the antithesis of those principles. Indeed, slavery and segregation have been strange paradoxes in a nation founded on the principle that all men are created equal." King reminds the graduates that they must demand change: "The price America must pay for the continued exploitation of the Negro and other minority groups is the price of its own destruction… If America is to remain a first-class nation, she can no longer have second-class citizens." As ingrained as America's systemic racism is, King urges his audience to work for change and fight back rather than give in to despair, and outlines creative, non-violent protest methods that can push back against the system, making white supremacy uncomfortable for those it is supposed to protect, and urging the privileged to join in the effort to dismantle these systemic inequities.
Very faint dampstain along spine. An about-fine copy of this very scarce item.