Backwards, Forwards Or Still The Same? The Dream at 55.
1963, 55 years ago today, 200,000 people participated in a civil rights rally in Washington, D.C., where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
I was 11 years old in 1963 and I wouldn't personally meet any african Americans for another 11 years. (They were basketball players from Milwaukee who came out to North Dakota to play college ball.)
So it's safe to say I grew up knowing nothing about race relations other than that which I saw on the nightly news in black and white, literally.
My experience grew some in the Army away from the white bread wheat fields of Dakota with time spent in Indianapolis and Seattle/Tacoma in the early 70's and later in Virginia in the early 80's. I never learned to be prejudiced and I never saw anything that remotely justified the prejudice I witnessed in others, but it was clearly there to see.
We've made considerable progress since those days but sadly we seem to still have a ways to go. Would we be farther down the road if Dr. King wasn't assassinated, If he had lived to continue to lead the movement? I believe we would and I believe the progress made would be more lasting and we may have been able to prevent some of the erosion that we saw occur during the presidency of Barrack Obama and that continues today.
Bottom Line- Race is still an issue, it's still used as a weapon and a divider and it is still important to revisit the dream and the words Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first spoke 55 years ago today.