Keep reaching for the dream

What would the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. say if he were alive and speaking in Augusta today?


We can only guess.

He might say we've come a long way. He might step back from the lectern and shake the hand of Mayor Deke Copenhaver - a man who was elected not because of the color of his skin, but because of the content of his character.

He would likely pay tribute to the rising black leaders in Augusta. To state Rep. Quincy Murphy, still a young man but suddenly the dean of the county's legislative delegation; to Hardie Davis and other newcomers to the delegation; to Robert "Flash" Gordon, general manager of the James Brown Arena who, though old enough to remember segregation, has no place in his heart for resentment; to state Sen. Ed Tarver who, like the mayor, bridges all races; and to private-sector leaders such as James Kendrick and his son Steven, and Augusta State University Athletic Director Clint Bryant, all of whom have shown that one need not be elected to anything to show leadership.

Dr. King might also remind us that the civil rights struggle was multicolored, and moving forward must be as well.

But he would no doubt take note of how far we have to go.

That it would be nice to see more black faces behind the judicial bench, and fewer in front of it.

That it wouldn't just be nice, but that it is absolutely essential, that young blacks in Augusta be convinced that opportunity truly is equal - that a life of playing by the rules and studying and working will pay off because the deck isn't stacked against them.

That it's time we cared about how every neighborhood looks and feels to live in.

That we need to keep the spirit of Barbara Thurmond alive, and end black-on-black crime in Augusta.

Dr. King might chuckle about sounding old and all, but that he has a few choice words for today's music.

Are we there yet? Have we reached his dream yet?

No, he would undoubtedly say. But keep going, Augusta. You're getting there.

And godspeed.