Dick Van Dyke appears in a YouTube video to honor Dr. Martin Luther King. Dick says in the beginning, “I was on the podium when Dr. Martin Luther King was addressing 60,000 people in the coliseum in L.A. I was there to read a message written by Rod Serling.”
The original speech reading was given on May 21st, 1964, and features the words of Rod Serling, famous for the hit T.V. show ‘The Twilight Zone.’ Dick sits in his house with white walls and a dark wooden ceiling with many collectible art pieces on display.
Dick says about the speech, “I think it means as much today, if not more than it did then. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to read it.” He puts on his reading glasses and begins the speech.
Dick says, “Ladies and gentlemen, this may be the most non-political speech you ever hear. And, indeed, if you look for controversy, what I’m about to say conjures up little conflict.”
Dick reads Rod’s poignant words, “And the desperate need for an understanding and a respect between all men is as fundamental as the process of breathing in and breathing out.”
Dick continues, “An idea of brotherhood has ceased to be an abstract. It has taken on a form and dimension and breadth and meaning. Hatred is not the norm. Prejudice is not the norm. Suspicion, dislike, jealousy, and scapegoating — none of these things is the transcendent facet of the human personality.”
Rod Serling’s closing is emotional and still relevant today. Dick reads, “There will be moments of violence and expressions of hatred and an ugly re-echo of intolerance, but these are the clinging vestiges of a decayed past, not the harbingers of the better, cleaner future. Horace Mann said, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” “Let’s paraphrase that tonight. Let us be ashamed to live without that victory.”