50 years ago today, Dr. King stood over the National Mall and delivered a powerful synopsis and paved a path of hope and determination. He took this moment to talk directly to America’s leaders, her people, and speak truth into light. Up to that point, the American Civil Rights Movement had hit many ups and downs. Victories were in abundance but there were difficult losses along the way. At that point, no powerful legislation had been passed to support African Americans in their pursuit of equality. Earlier that summer, the movement had suffered the loss of civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, in Mississippi. Dr. King spoke that the country had work to do in order to ease the racial oppression and allow the inclusion of all her citizens. The American Negro had made an incredible journey from the Motherland to the sugar fields of the Caribbean to the cotton fields of the American South.
This moment in time propelled the movement forward and gave the stagnant feeling among some, a brief pause for clarity. While Dr. King asked this nation to look at the context of one’s character and not their skin color, have we really taken this lesson to task? If Dr. King could have seen the multitude of people who showed up today to celebrate, who varied in range in the ethnicity, gender, sexual preferences, socioeconomic status, and religious beliefs, were united to continue to a vision, he would be pleased. In addition, the nation had its first African American president ready to speak on the silver anniversary of that moment in time. Despite the advancement since that moment to the present, there is still major problem remaining. The racial income gap has increased; African Americans remain unemployment almost twice the rate of whites. African Americans graduate from high school barely above 50% and they are the victims of crimes in large proportions.
These problems seemingly took a backseat to the advancement of racial equality. While racial inequality opened the door to equal treatment, if you are unable to make the opportunity meaningful, then the cause of racial equality is not living up to its truest purpose. Purpose not achieved, is a waste of effort.
How can we honor a dreamer while some wake up to a nightmare every day? How can we combat the demons of poverty, discrimination, ignorance, violence, and get American back on track to live out the true meaning of its creed. Our full measure of devotion should be dedicated to fulfill the plan laid out by Dr. King, built on from the work of others from years previous. It is to us, the living, that American changes its current grade of incomplete to passing then to an A. So, let this message ring from every city and part of this country, and hopefully all people can remember the essence of a man who wanted what was best for this country. Dr. King would die a few years later from someone trying to silence a nation; however, today we celebrate his vision and birthday every year. I can safely say that attempt to end a movement failed; nonetheless, we must work on the problems still remaining 50 years later.