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"Justice Too Long Delayed is Justice Denied"

Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", April 16, 1963.
  • <strong>Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963</strong>
  • <strong>Chief Joseph Lincoln Hall Speech, Washington, D.C., January 14, 1879</strong>
    OSHKOSH, WI, September 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- "Justice too long delayed is justice denied." The relevance of the citation, authored by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., resonates in today's society as forcefully as it did during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. Fifty years have passed since the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. took pause to fervently and forcefully address the criticism of his work and his ideas. For those "privileged" citizens of our society who disproportionately prosper from the laws and policies enacted by politicians whose loyalties remain misguided, these words constitute an unalienable birthright. For the remaining "less than privileged" citizens of our society, the call to justice cited in these words remains beyond our reach for we do not possess either the means or the opportunity required to attain this justice.

As with any valued commodity, justice has become a commodity traded behind closed doors and eventually sold to the highest bidder or power broker. Respectfully, I have taken the liberty of including the following excerpt from the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" to place the cited quotation within its proper context.

"My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

And yet, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was not the first man of color to contest the arbitrary and capricious injustices which preceded the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. As early as the 1860's, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce (Nimiputimt) is attributed to having offered the following counsel and wisdom as a means by which the American Indian would be allowed to live in peace with the burgeoning population of American immigrants seeking to escape the injustices from whence they came.

"If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace. Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself, and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty."

As for me as an enrolled tribal member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, I do not profess to speak on behalf of the Tribe nor do I profess to speak on behalf of the Nations. But I do profess to speak on behalf of myself, my father who preceded me, my father's father who preceded him, my sons, and my son's son; all of whom are enrolled tribal members. In spite of the continuous and unabated injustices inflicted upon my person and First American Engineered Solutions, L.L.C., it remains my cultural and moral obligation to insure that the next Seven Generations of American Indians enjoy the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to which they have been granted under the United States Declaration of Independence as adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

During this period of solemn remembrance, First American Engineered Solutions, L.L.C. commemorates the steadfast commitment to nonviolence invoked by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce (Nimiputimt).


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Gerald Morris
First American Engineered Solutions LLC

Oshkosh, Wisconsin
United States
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