The King's speech

Fifty years later, most of the 'Dream' has come to pass

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If Americans today possess less knowledge of history, we’ve at least got a better feel for it. Anniversaries of society’s most significant events are commemorated religiously and spiritedly, as they should be.

Few commemorations in the past half-century have been as momentous and meaningful as today’s 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Fifty years ago today, a segregated and sinful nation was in desperate need of moral leadership.

A rising generation, black and white, was rightfully rebelling against the status quo, and was increasingly – and justifiably – impatient with it. It had been 100 years since the Emancipation Proclamation; 15 years since President Truman outlawed discrimination in the military; a decade since Brown v. Board of Education outlawed school segregation; eight years since Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott; six years since the military-aided integration of Little Rock’s Central High; three years since the Greensboro, N.C., lunch counter sit-in; two years since the freedom riders began; and a year since James Meredith’s entrance into the University of Mississippi caused rioting and even death.

How can a nation founded on such high-minded, historic, Judeo-Christian principles have fallen so short of them for so long? What were people supposed to wait for, after the soaring promise of the Constitution had been denied so long? How long should an entire race be told to sit on their dreams and be forced to pine, in vain, for basic human freedom?

More practically, how to get that freedom?

This was a nation born of the willingness to fight and die for freedom, and there were militant voices in the 1960s. But in this case, there was a better, albeit painfully slower, path – one of nonviolent change.

It was the path laid out eloquently in King’s speech.

King did not shrink from calling for peaceful rebellion. He was not meek, warning that “there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

Yet, he quickly cautioned African-Americans that, “In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.”

He called for peace, but insisted on justice. In so doing, he could not have set a better tone for a turbulent time.

In fact, for both its eloquence and impact, scholars have named King’s speech the country’s best in all of the 20th century.

Nor was it merely a speech or a call to action. It was as powerful a closing argument as any jury has ever been witness to. He argued that America had signed a promissory note in its lofty founding documents – the promise of freedom, the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – but that, for African-Americans, it had turned out to be a bad check marked “insufficient funds.”

“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check,” he said.

Fifty years later, most of what King called for has come to pass. Right was on his side, but now so is the law – and, from all appearances, most hearts. But his dream of a unified nation seems gloomily distant still, thanks in large part to a government that impedes individual initiative and media that too often deny progress and delight in division – which only eggs on the self-serving demagogues. The cup of bitterness and hatred runneth over.

This was not King’s dream, nor should it be our reality.

Let it be our dream that on every Aug. 28, this fervent commemoration would be more about victory than victimization – not about having to overcome, but about having done it.

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Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 09:36 am
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Just curious. Why do you use
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Just curious. Why do you use the correct term "Caucasians" for people who are white, but use the term "African Americans" to describe people who may or may not have every set foot on the continent of Africa? By that logic, you should call the white people "European Americans" or some other such nonsense.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 09:37 am
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"Sometimes it takes fire to
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"Sometimes it takes fire to fight fire!"

So hypocrisy is a potent weapon? I guess that makes sense to someone. That DOES explain your support for racial discrimination though.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 08/28/13 - 09:37 am
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Fighting racism with racism

Fighting racism with racism is really, really, really stupid. Helping the poor is one thing, but wealth redistribution is another really, really, really stupid idea. Trying to create social justice with social injustice is really asinine. It's like Bizarro World. LOL.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 09:39 am
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Affirmative action

WOW, SOMEBODY must have REALLY gotten burned it!

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 09:39 am
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T3.... huh?
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T3.... huh?

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 09:44 am
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Bizkit @ 9:37

"Fighting racism with racism is really, really, really stupid. Helping the poor is one thing, but wealth redistribution is another really, really, really stupid idea. Trying to create social justice with social injustice is really asinine. It's like Bizarro World. LOL"

I think the racism line-in-the-sand was drawn and continues to be practiced by caucasians A LONG TIME AGO! SOOO, why shouldn't there be MAJOR RACISM from African-Americans??

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 09:46 am
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Line the sand? What on Earth
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Line the sand? What on Earth are you talking about? Why would you try to justify MAJOR RACISM from ANYONE? "why shouldn't there be MAJOR RACISM from African-Americans?" Why? Because it's immoral...that's why? Why would you support it?

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 09:46 am
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HA question

Did you see yourself in my comment about affirmative action??

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 09:48 am
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No....I had no idea what the
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No....I had no idea what the heck you were talking about.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 09:50 am
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HA @ 9:46

"Why? Because it's immoral...that's why? Why would you support it?"

I do not support racism of any kind, BUT racism from caucasians will naturally cause racism from African-Americans! Just ask a fireperson, "Sometime it takes fire to fight fire!!"

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 09:53 am
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What racism from Caucasians
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What racism from Caucasians is causing racism from Blacks today?

And where would I find a lunatic fireman who would thing it takes a fire to fight a fire? Using cliches to support an argument is odd at best.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 08/28/13 - 09:54 am
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Keep beating the dead horse or be the change

I'll say it again, you can keep beating a dead horse or you can work to change it. I run my own business and work in local industry and public safety. When people realize that what you do will have a bearing on the rest of your life, when successful people take time to go to these young people to explain to them what the consequenses are, when these people stop making a living off living on handouts. This goes for males who leach off the females who live only for the housing and check. When our young people learn that your past will make a difference in whatever career you choose. I've yet to hear a 3rd grader say they want to be a drug dealer or a baby mama as a career! How you live your life and how you perform in school are indications of how you'll work in a job! What you put on Facebook and online will determine whether you'll get a job or even keep a job! Yes, I'm a white male, but until our Black Community leaders go into the schools and stay alongside those children all the way through school as mentors things won't change. They won't believe it coming from me, but, several of you, (you know who you are) can make those changes, and see more black youth graduate, get degrees and become productive. We don't need hiring quota's, we need qualified people to full the jobs. We need people who can pass a lifetime background check, drug tests and with a sense of responsibility to step up now. Most companies go through over 300 applicants to get 2 qualified people who pass drug and background screens.

lovingthesouth72
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lovingthesouth72 08/28/13 - 09:54 am
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disappointing -

Ironically enough, if people were judged by the content of their character Obama would have never gotten elected. Plain and simple. He was elected by the color of his skin, as many people have admitted. Hence, the mess the country is in now. Discrimination in reverse, where just the color of your skin qualifies you for anything. I never understood this rational, it makes no sense. If character is what matters then lets elect politicians with character, regardless of the color of their skin. Don't use your skin color to sell your message, or to create division, which Obama does over and over again. MLK would not be very proud of Obama. MLK's niece Alveda King speaks out against abortion and the genocide of the African american communities. She knows her uncle would be pro-life. She knows her uncle would be appalled by the racial tensions we have now a days, where young black men are killing young white men for fun, for revenge, because they are board. MLK would be disappointed in the young African american men who don't build a future for themselves, don't get an education and don't provide for their families or for the children then have and remain enslaved to gangs and drugs. MLK would be disappointed in the African american women who live a life of promiscuity on the streets and choose to remain enslaved to government for all their needs. That is the freedom MLK fought for. MLK was a man of prayer, a man who turned to God for wisdom.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 08/28/13 - 09:56 am
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I guess tbledsoe you don't

I guess tbledsoe you don't realize racism has been and is alive and well in Africa. I think that line in the sand is much older than the USA.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 09:57 am
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HA @ 9:37

"That DOES explain your support for racial discrimination though"

It took me a while, but are you refering to affirmative action as a form of racial discrimination?

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 09:58 am
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Any policy that uses your
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Any policy that uses your skin color as a factor in determining who gets hired or promoted is by definition racial discrimination.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 08/28/13 - 10:01 am
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Tbledsoe I know MLKjr would

Tbledsoe I know MLKjr would be disappointed in your attitude to fight racism with racism. That does little to honor the man.

shrimp for breakfast
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shrimp for breakfast 08/28/13 - 10:01 am
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I just wondered

Does anyone know that MLK didn't want to be the face of the civil rights movement.
The people who started the movement chose HIM! He thought maybe it was God's will and that's the only reason he accepted the monumental task that laid ahead.
True story.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 10:01 am
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HA @ 9:53

"And where would I find a lunatic fireman who would thing it takes a fire to fight a fire? Using cliches to support an argument is odd at best"

This time I am talking literally, "Firepersons fight forrest fires by setting back fires. No kidding, I am being for real, now."

chascushman
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chascushman 08/28/13 - 10:05 am
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"What hogwash. Racism is
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"What hogwash. Racism is alive and well"
Bod, you are correct. Racism today has been fueled by the liberals/progressives, democrats and black leaders even in some black churches with the racist hatred that has been spread for the last 30 yrs.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 08/28/13 - 10:05 am
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Education

Why are we pushing everyone to get a college degree? Some people just aren't suited for college. One thing we need to go back to is the academic and industrial schools, not separated by race but by goals, by grades and by ideas. Why not have a school for Auto Mechanics, Welding, mechanical and electrical trades, cooking, agriculture and I could go on. Some people have no intention of going to college but with the right foundation from high school could go into a tech or trade school and have a skill or knowledge set to rely on. Not everyone has the drive to study to make the grades for college. Why are our tech schools now requiring a "core curriculum"? This causes many to shy away from them. Who needs English Lit to be a welder? That should be an elective, not an income generator for a tech or trade school.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 10:05 am
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Back fires
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Ok T3...so you think you can stop racism by implementing more racism? You are comparing apples to oranges.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 10:10 am
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Question

We have a pretty good guess as to why MLK Jr. was assassinated, BUT why Evers and Malcom X?

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 10:10 am
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I suppose using the same
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I suppose using the same "back fire" logic, we could stop murders if we just go ahead and kill all their potential victims....you know....do some "back killing."

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 10:13 am
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t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 10:14 am
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HA @ 10:05

"Ok T3...so you think you can stop racism by implementing more racism? You are comparing apples to oranges."

First, can we agree that ALL people are animals? Animals that are backed up into a corner, IT IS JUST second nature to fight back! In my opinion, this is the root cause of racism from African-Americans! Again, it is ANIMAL natrue!

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 10:16 am
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@10:14. Why don't you condemn
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@10:14.

Why don't you condemn racism from Blacks, regardless of the reason? If I'm subjected to racism, but never committed any myself, then why should I tolerate it, natural reaction or not? MY natural reaction is to try to stop the racism, not to be more racist than those who attack me.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/28/13 - 10:18 am
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If you say that we are
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If you say that we are animals and the natural reaction to racism is to have more racism, then why not abolish affirmative action before those discriminated against by it fight back? Doesn't that sound logical?

Bizkit
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Bizkit 08/28/13 - 10:18 am
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Hey since statistically a

Hey since statistically a white person would suffer a violent crime at the hands of a black person ,white folks should take violence against blacks-a preemptive strike ? Or if you are white and in prison then the odds are you will raped by a black man-so take em all out ? See your mentality will just breed more violence and racism.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 08/28/13 - 10:22 am
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MLK Jr. Assassination

In my educated opinion, he was assassinated because bigotted and red-neck caucasians saw him as a great threat to the status-quo of caucasians continueing to domminate African-Americans!

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