Yesterday was the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream speech”. Whose original march was held 100 years after Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation, which freed the slaves in Confederate States. Yesterday also had a rally in Washington to commemorate the original march for jobs and Freedom. How far has America come to realizing King’s dream?
On first glance with forty four blacks in congress and over 8,000 blacks elected to serve throughout the nation and our first almost black president one could be hopeful. Signs of progress with a lower poverty rate, larger percentage of high school and college diplomas, longer life expectancy and a ten percent increase in voter participation. Things would seem to be heading in the right direction.
The bad news for the dream is the jump from 25% single parent households to 72% since 1963. The estimated 16 million black babies that will never dream at all, thru abortion. The unemployment rate among blacks can be fondly remembered as 10% in 1963 is now almost 13%.
When King gave his speech America was quite different in 1963 than it is today. Earlier that same year Democrat Bull Connor’s almost did as much for civil rights as King by becoming the face of segregation. The world was shocked by photos of dogs and fire hoses being used against peaceful civil rights protesters in Birmingham Alabama. This was before the race riots in Watts, Harlem, Tampa, Newark, Detroit, Buffalo and Chicago.
That summer day Martin Luther preached about equality, justice, dignity and discipline. He warned against the drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. He dreamed when character mattered more than color.
On the anniversary of the speech the crowd was preached to about the benefits of higher taxes on the rich, bigger government, raising minimum wage and gay rights. The people were warned about the evil racist Republicans, discriminatory policies of photo ID voting, and reduced social programs. Some even dreamed that Trayvon Martin’s character didn’t matter, only the color of his skin.
A very informative paper was delivered two years after the original speech by Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the state of black America that whose recommendations were pretty much wholly ignored. ( http://moynihanrevisited.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Moynihans-The-Negro-Family.pdf ) How different the state of race relations in America today had his report been acted upon. Would the race hustlers, gangs and Rap criminals have such a strong hold on Black culture and youth?
If Martin Luther King awoke from a Rip Van Winkle type slumber to attend yesterday’s events he would be shocked, like many Americans what this country has become. He would be pleased with the advances but appalled at the opportunities wasted by the people he tried to lead. He would be embarrassed at those who in his name claim the same America he knew could change for the better, should be dammed. While he preached the rewards of hard work his legacy has become one of handouts.
When witnessing the anniversary of his original speech one of his quotes come to mind. “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”.