Out of Many One People: Dr. King in Jamaica


Today was the Dr. Martin Luther King Day holiday in the United States. So much has already been written in the context of Ferguson, #BlackLivesMatter and more.

I would simply like to share with you a short excerpt from a sermon Dr. King gave on July 4, 1965 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Georgia. The sermon was entitled “The American Dream” and the full text is well worth reading here: http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_the_american_dream/      (I am very grateful to my Facebook friend David Nunes for this):

“The other day Mrs. King and I spent about ten days down in Jamaica. I’d gone down to deliver the commencement address at the University of the West Indies. I always love to go that great island which I consider the most beautiful island in all the world. The government prevailed upon us to be their guests and spend some time and try to get a little rest while there on the speaking tour. And so for those days we traveled all over Jamaica. And over and over again I was impressed by one thing. Here you have people from many national backgrounds: Chinese, Indians, so-called Negroes, and you can just go down the line, Europeans, European and people from many, many nations. Do you know they all live there and they have a motto in Jamaica, “Out of many people, one people.” And they say, “Here in Jamaica we are not Chinese, (Make it plain) we are not Japanese, we are not Indians, we are not Negroes, we are not Englishmen, we are not Canadians. But we are all one big family of Jamaicans.” One day, here in America, I hope that we will see this and we will become one big family of Americans. Not white Americans, not black Americans, not Jewish or Gentile Americans, not Irish or Italian Americans, not Mexican Americans, not Puerto Rican Americans, but just Americans. One big family of Americans.”

My question is: After fifty years, is America any closer to this dream? And does Jamaica still consider itself “one big family” ?

The Jamaican Coat of Arms: Out of Many, One People
The Jamaican Coat of Arms: Out of Many, One People

 


2 thoughts on “Out of Many One People: Dr. King in Jamaica

  1. Yes, despite everything, Jamaica is still ‘Out of many, one people’. We cuss Miss Jamaica because she is too ‘white’ then we discover that her grandfather is the man who has carried Jamaica’s athletics team’s flag for decades and we didn’t mind that his skin colour was pale!!! One Jamaica!

    Liked by 1 person

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