In 1760, the freedom of thought had not yet been born. It took courage to speak one’s mind. So just a few years later, when Thomas Jefferson scribbled these words on paper, it was not only an act of courage, but of treason:
We find these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, with certain unalienable rights, given to them by their creator. Among them, life, liberty and property.
“Property” was later changed to “the pursuit of happiness” to ensure the slave trade would come to an end. Do Americans understand the impact of that change?
More than 200 years later, a black preacher from the South, Dr. Martin Luther King, courageously spoke out to make the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness a reality for all Americans.
We will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholic will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
—Martin Luther King, Jr.