To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation; With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States. -- Barack Obama, August 28, 2008.
Exactly 45 years to the day after Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Barack Obama placed his hands on this very document and changed the world by accepting his party's nomination to become the first African-American President of the United States. Like King at the Lincoln Memorial, Obama was flanked by Greek columns. Thunderous chants of "YES, WE CAN!" echoed among the 80,000 fired-up, ready-to-go supporters at Mile High Stadium. Countless camera flashes popped. Flags and signs waved. Tears flowed. The landmark speech was titled "The American Promise," and throughout Obama's rousing oratory witnessed by hundreds of millions across the globe, the full transcript rested before him in a three-ring binder on the podium. It was the same copy that the Democratic nominee had dutifully rehearsed with for this biggest speech of his life so far, and the same copy that had received a minor correction on the sixth page, omitting a typo.
"So let us agree that patriotism has no party," Obama declared in one of his most memorably iconic sections. "I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America—they have served the United States of America."
Proudly presented right here is that museum-worthy, 54-page piece of Civil Rights history and White House history. Photo-matched with ironclad certainty, this is an artifact that belongs in the rarefied company of such extraordinary documents as MLK's "Dream" transcript and Jackie Robinson's 1947 Dodgers contract—both of which are considered multi-million-dollar treasures, if not priceless.
President Obama has often drawn comparisons to master-orator King and barrier-breaker Robinson. He himself has credited the two forebears for his accomplishments, saying, "I stand on the shoulders of Dr. King," and "[T]here's a direct line between Jackie Robinson...and me standing here." Indeed, Barack Obama has been called "this generation's Jackie Robinson" for shattering racial divisions with such grace and dignity. "I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office," he acknowledged in Denver. "I don't fit the typical pedigree...But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring." Likewise in segregated baseball before Robinson came along. Thus, it's befitting of their shared legacy that Obama's 2008 speech transcript should appear in none other than the Jackie Robinson Auction, with proceeds benefiting the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Provenance comes in the form of a signed affidavit and related DNC access badges from Robin Hayden, a foreman with Production Resource Group (PRG). Hayden helped build the stage/floor and podium, and he was solely in charge of the riser that lifted the podium up through the floor beforehand and then lowered the podium back down below afterward. He was therefore underneath the stage (with the podium) as celebrations continued for the Obamas and Bidens under a rain of confetti and a sky of fireworks. While the stadium emptied and for several more hours, the PRG crew disassembled the stage and, eventually, the podium. Hayden picked up Obama's three-ring binder with the speech transcript and handed it over to Secret Service agents, who stated that it wasn't needed anymore and gave him permission to keep it. Goldin Auctions has been able to not only confim this story thru video footage of the event, but has also reached the other 3 individuals who were on duty at the DNC working the podium at the time. We have not only confirmed these facts, but are being provided with affidavits from all four individuals which will be and are posted online. And so, like Hall of Fame basketball coach George Raveling, who famously received MLK's "Dream" transcript at the 1963 March on Washington, Robin Hayden and his crew also just so happened to be in the right place at the right time.
“The [American] promise is our greatest inheritance," Obama said with deep emotion in his voice. "It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours—a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot. And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream." As he spoke those immortal words, Barack Obama made a monumental leap for us all in the fulfillment of King's dream. And Jackie's.