First Speech, 1913
February 6, 1913 — Auditorium, Hillside School, Montclair NJ
I am going to try to make you feel that no one of us can do anything alone, that we are abound together. I do not like this world as it is. I am trying to make it a little more as I would like to have it. Perhaps you are thinking how blind I have been. You have your eyes, and you behold the sun, and yet you are more blind than I am. It was the hands of others that made this miracle in me. Without my teacher I should be nothing. We live by and for each other.
We are all blind and deaf until our eyes are open to our fellowmen. If we had a penetrating vision we would not endure what we see in the world to-day. The lands, the life, the machinery belong to the few. All the work they do gains for the workers a mere livelihood. Strange that we do not see it, and when we do we accept the condition in blind content. We fail to understand that if the workers were adequately paid there would be no rich people.
The rich are willing to do everything for the poor except give them their rights. They say the workers are not thrifty enough, and does not save, it is because the greatest part of what he produces goes to some one else, who does the saving.
It is the labor of the poor and ignorant that makes us refined and comfortable. I am not a pessimist. The pessimist says that man was born in darkness and for death. I believe that man was intended for the light, and shall not die. It is a good world, and it will be much better when you help me to make it more as I want it.
Source: The New York Times, February 7, 1913, p. 3.