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Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy | State Director Newsletter

Shinae Young
Release Date

It was 75 years ago, on January 12, 1949, when Americans discovered President Harry Truman was serious about advancing civil rights and racial equity. It was two years after forming the President’s Committee on Civil Rights, one and a half years after his groundbreaking Civil Rights Address to the NAACP, and six months after issuing Executive Order 9984, demanding the end of segregation in the armed forces. President Truman called into session his President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Forces and had this to say as it met for the first time.

“It is my profound desire that the work of this Committee shall yield results which will not simply be a report, but a set of operable plans, a blueprint, for constructive action. The national security requires that you make your contribution, consistent with the fundamental rights of all men, toward the full development of the strength of our country.”

On January 14, 1949, Martin Luther King, Jr, a theology student in Pennsylvania, celebrated his 20th birthday. It would be 14 years before he declared, “I have a dream,” in front of nearly 250,000 people at the National Mall. For many years, people wondered where the original Dr. King’s famous speech disappeared. The story unfolds by journalist Cutis Bunn in 2015, when a 26-year-old, George Raveling, assistant basketball coach at Villanova, Philadelphia, volunteered for the inaugural march in Washington, DC in 1963.

Coach Raveling asked Dr. King if he could have his speech, written on three loose sheets of paper. Without hesitation, Dr. King handed the speech to him on August 28, 1963. Coach Raveling folded the papers, slid them into this pocket, and stored them in a biography of former president Harry Truman which was signed in Kansas City. Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech lived within the pages of Truman’s life story for years. The coincidence does not go unnoticed that Dr. King’s historic speech was linked to former President Truman’s commitment to ending inequality in the Armed Forces.

Regarding equality and basic needs, I cannot help but think about how our agency, USDA Rural Development, can contribute to help achieve “the American Dream.” We are a unique but critical federal agency that helps to make the American dream possible. Since 2000, our agency provided over 199,000 Single-Family Housing direct loans to rural area homeowners in the United States.

USDA Rural Development Single-Family Housing program offers Direct loans to low-income families to become homeowners in rural communities. Single-Family Housing Programs also provide home repair loans and grants to residents to repair and improve the quality of living. Missouri Rural Development’s staff are located throughout your community. We are your neighbors and friends living next door. Let us know your needs so we can help make your “American Dream” come true.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov or contact the nearest USDA Rural Development Missouri office.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal, and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov or contact the nearest USDA Rural Development Missouri office. Always feel free to reach out to us at Rural Development by visiting our website www.rd.usda.gov/mo, emailing us at RDMissouri@usda.gov, or calling us at (573) 876-0976 to get more information on any of USDA Rural Development’s programs.

USDA Rural Development has 25 offices across the state to serve the 2.2 million residents living in rural Missouri. Office locations include a state office in Columbia, along with local offices in Butler, Charleston, Chillicothe, Clinton, Dexter, Eldon, Farmington, Higginsville, Houston, Kennett, Kirksville, Maryville, Mexico, Moberly, Neosho, New London, Poplar Bluff, Richmond, Rolla, Sedalia, Springfield, St. Joseph, Troy, and West Plains.

If you’d like to subscribe to Missouri USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.