King’s Dream, Fifty Years Later

Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

At issue were several problems, including Jim Crow laws that prevent black people from using the same public facilities as white people (i.e., water fountains, rest rooms, seating in restaurants, doorways to clubs and theaters), discrimination in employment that prevented blacks from improving their financial lots in life, enslaving them to a grinding poverty and dependence on public welfare (that did no one any good), and other forms of segregation and discrimination.

“I have a dream,” he said, “that my four little children I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

“I have a dream today.

“I have a dream that one day down in Alabama…one day, right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

So how much of King’s dream has come true?  At my former company, black people worked right alongside white counterparts.  His dream didn’t come completely true there, because there was still a cultural divide, although some people crossed over it.  To those of us who crossed over that invisible line between black and white and remembered the Jim Crow laws, we remembered what a nuisance the hatred of discrimination was.  We weren’t sorry to see them go.

The workplace has been an ideal proving ground for King’s dream.  Living proof that dreams can come true.  Other dreams have yet to be realized.  The unemployment rate among black youth is still staggeringly high.  Their chances of graduating high school are dismal and the chances of young black males attending Prison U. are grimly high.  Seventy-four percent of black women are single mothers who are either working through the welfare to work program or went back on public assistance again after Obama was elected.

As for the little black children holding hands with the little white children, apparently a group of black children in Minneapolis were not taught the Rev. Dr. King’s philosophy of racial harmony.  They teased and taunted a three year-old white girl on a plastic tricycle.  The two five year-old black girls told the toddler that she was “ugly” and slapped and hit her.  Amazingly, the toddler, trying to make “amends,” made a peace offering of some snack that she had.  At the urging of some black boys who were with them, one girl took the snack and threw it into the grass.  They laughed and pranced before the video camera taping them as the little girl wailed.

What would Dr. King think of their behavior?  What would he think of the two black boys who robbed and beat to death an elderly World War II veteran and then claimed that he had been trying to sell them crack?  Seriously?  Or the gang of four black teen girls who beat up a Pittsburgh woman after they threw a soda can at her car and when she confronted them, hurled racist epithets at her before beating her up and tearing her shoulder?  Or the four black teens who, in the name of “justice” for Trayvon Martin, beat a 50 year-old Florida man 13 times in the head with a hammer?  What about the senseless shooting of Australian Chris Lane in Duncan, Okla.?  Then there was the case of the young Knoxville, Tenn., couple whose horrific murder was reported last night by Glenn Beck.  Although Beck and his guests, the parents of the murdered couple, denied any racism was involved, the leader of the gang that carjacked the couple was an admitted racist who hated white people.

The police reported that they thought the couple was in an unsavory part of town to buy drugs.  The parents all denied that their young adult children were drug users, and the mother of the young woman insisted that they had not been in a bad part of Knoxville, although the young man’s mother admitted it was a bad part of the city.  You have to actually watch and listen to the interview from Glenn Beck’s program; the parents’ description of Knoxville differs.  But even if they’d been in bad part of town for a bad reason, they didn’t deserve what happened to them.

They had stopped the car and evidently one of them was getting out when the gang forced them back into the car, blindfolding the pair and driving off.  The details of what happened next are so horrific that it’s better if you just read the account from Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze:

Because of the police report’s affirmation that the couple had been in that neighborhood to buy drugs, the jury found the killers guilty (four men and one female accomplice) but the judge greatly reduced their sentences.

You don’t hear about many beatings of black people.  We certainly haven’t heard about them and we certainly would have if such murders had occurred.  If the Black community rose up in arms over a case of self-defense, which they vigorously deny in the face of hard evidence to the contrary, if a real murder had happened, there would be riots in the streets.  Remember Los Angeles, the Rodney King incident?  The police had been trying to arrest him as he drove through the streets of L.A. at high speed, high on speed or some other drug.  The chase ended with King’s death.  When a jury acquitted the police officers, the black community burned down the neighborhood and dragged a hapless truck driver from his vehicle, beating him viciously.

New York City is considering banning its stop-and-frisk law, thanks to the complaints of the black community.  New York has been one of the safest big cities in America since the stop-and-frisk law went into effect.  With this ban, New York will join Chicago, Spokane, Minneapolis, and other metropolises in black gang violence.  What’s more, HUD is planning to sprinkle the suburbs with their “fair share” of thuggery and druggery.

Some argue that Dr. King, in his last years, was turning towards social justice; that legislative action wasn’t enough.  But in his “I Have a Dream” speech, he spoke about racial justice, as in the end of discriminatory Jim Crow laws, not social justice and the redistribution of wealth.  In an earlier part of the speech, he does talk about the government writing the black community a “check” for justice and tolerance.  He was speaking euphemistically about a justice that money can’t buy.

To most white people, even the most skeptical, the days of segregation and discrimination are part of a dimming history.  This year is also the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination.  Fifty years.  Most marriages and even some bridges don’t last that long anymore.  Dr. King was murdered five years later, in 1968.

Dr. King’s tempering voice is sorely-needed in this age of increasing violence.  Even during his lifetime, race riots were breaking out in Newark (1967), Los Angeles (Watts – 1965), San Francisco (Haight-Ashbury – a street corner in the city – 1965-1967), and other cities.  At the time, his critics claimed that King himself was stirring up the unrest.  In his “I Have a Dream” speech, he talks about an unstoppable revolution but then cautions his audience not to express their frustration in anger and violence.

The Newark riots, at least, had nothing to do with King.  The city was about to tear down its poorest ward to make way for a university hospital, leaving the residents homeless.  A group of neighborhood citizens went to the local police station to protest, the media of the time showed up to exploit the unrest, and the rest was history.  Even white people who were not in particularly sympathy with blacks thought this was a terrible move on the part of the city of Newark.

A popular phrase in the Sixties was “police brutality.”  The phrase has been resurrected.  But it seems that the charge of brutality lies on the shoulders of black youth, not law enforcement.  The police in those days might have been overzealous in their pursuit of criminals.  Or maybe they were not.  Today, blacks are overzealous in their pursuit of “social justice.”

What would Martin Luther King Jr. think of these brutal killings if he were alive today?  Would he consider the cold-blooded murder of white people a justified part of his legacy?  Is this any way for Blacks to celebrate his legacy?

Published in: on August 28, 2013 at 6:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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