Martin Luther King Junior was born on this day in 1929. He would be only 88 if he were still alive. For some reason it seems like he would be much older. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the man whose leadership of the civil rights movement had a major impact on life in the United States and whose death had repercussions that are still with us today had a ‘dream’ that ended for him personally a full 48 years ago.
What has happened to his ‘dream’ in those 48 years seems to me tragic. One of the sentences which is often quoted from his “I have a Dream” speech is, “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.” It is a good sentence to quote because it truly characterizes the whole speech. But if you read the whole speech you will see that most of those who have assumed the mantel of the civil rights movement have betrayed King’s ‘Dream.’ Do not believe me. King’s speech is available on any number of websites in its entirety. Take a few minutes to read it. And, as you read it, ask yourself how today’s leaders of the civil rights movement measure up to the standards set forth in King’s speech. Then ask yourself how you measure up.