Martin Luther King, Jr., at Western Michigan University, 18 December, 1963:
from Dr. King:
“There are certain technical words within every academic discipline that soon become stereotypes and cliches. Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any … It is the word “maladjusted.” This word is the ringing cry to modern child psychology. Certainly, we all want to avoid the maladjusted life. In order to have real adjustment within our personalities, we all want the well‐adjusted life …
But I say to you, my friends … there are certain things in our nation and in the world (about) which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good-will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few, leave millions of G-d’s children smothering in an air tight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self‐defeating effects of physical violence.
I’m … convinced … that there is need for a new organization in our world. The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment – men and women who will be as maladjusted as the prophet Amos, who in the midst of the injustices of his day could cry out in words that echo across the centuries, ‘Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’ As maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln who had the vision to see that this nation would not survive half‐slave and half‐free. As maladjusted as Thomas Jefferson who in the midst of an age amazingly adjusted to slavery would scratch across the pages of history words lifted to cosmic proportions, ‘We know these truths to be self‐evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator certain unalienable rights’ that among these are ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’
Through such maladjustment, I believe that we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice.” *
Martin Luther King had a dream. And we share it with him yet again today.
* Reference Western Michigan University