This, Dear Friends, is why one does not rely solely on the World Wide Web for factual information. This is why one has books.
I thought today would be a fine day to do a little reading at lunchtime and as I take some breaks from the ever-so-satisfying task of cleaning the workshop. And so I searched for “MLK I have a Dream.” One of the top hits was from historywired.si.edu. I didn’t stop to ask what university “SI” is, but I did give some credence to the .edu extension. Here’s the content of King’s speech at SI.
I had seen reference to and read portions of King’s speech earlier this week. I did not read those portions at si.edu. I checked another site– archieves.gov– and downloaded the pdf. Sure enough, those missing portions were there. But just to be on the safe side, I checked a
crappy old book, too. (A Documentary History of the United States, Seventh Edition. Richard D. Herrner. 2002.) And what do you know? Those portions were there, too.
SI has done some re-writing.
|“It would be fatal for the nation … .”|
The version on the right is the typewritten version held by the US Archieves which is word-for-word the text of the speech in the book. Comparing the two versions side by side we do not see word-for-word agreement. First, the word “Negro” appears nowhere in the SI version. Next, read the sentences beginning, “It wold be fatal” (the two are approximately across from one another). There are words added in the SI transcript.
|“… bright days of Justice emerge.”|
It’s bright days– plural on the right, and singluar on the left.
But that’s not the worst of it.
|Re-writing history, three paragraphs at a time.|
This isn’t tinkering with style– singular for plural. This isn’t color-washed editing– omitting “Negro.” This is re-writing history.
And there’s more!
|“… unearned suffering is redemptive.”|
That sentence has been edited out in the SI version.
Look also at the editing and re-phrasing leading up to “… I still have a dream.”
Most interestingly, though, is the substitution of modern for Northern.
Go back to the slums and ghettos of our
I must say, all of this really bothered me. Read the whole, real, speech. It’s good. Who the hell at what .edu university thinks he/she can take the liberty to re-write King’s speech?
Historywired.si.edu is the Smithonian Institute:
Welcome to the Smithsonian Institution’s HistoryWired: A few of our favorite things. This experimental site introduces visitors to some of the three million objects held by the National Museum of American History, Behring Center.
With less than five percent of our vast and diverse collection on public display in our exhibit halls, we hope that Web sites like this will bring many more of our treasures into public view. The initial 450 objects, selected by curators from across the Museum, include famous, unusual, and everyday items with interesting stories to tell. They are not intended to be representative of the Museum’s entire collection.
Design and navigation for HistoryWired were generously provided by SmartMoney.com using its Map of the Market technology.
HistoryWired can be likened to a private tour through the Museum storage areas. Visitors select the objects that interest them; curators explain the items’ significance. Like an actual tour at the Museum, information is presented conversationally and is backed by the impeccable scholarship of Smithsonian curators. And, like a real museum experience, visitors can share with others their enthusiasm (or lack thereof) about what they see and learn.
And there you have it. The impeccable scholars work hard to re-write history so you don’t have to.