I’ve come here tonight and plead with you: Be proud of 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.
No Lincolnian proclamation can do this for us; no Ken[nedy]sonian or Johnsonian civil rights bill can 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 an ink of self-asserted 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, 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 and proud of it. I’m black and beautiful.”
[Black is Beautiful Speech – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]