Looking Back On The Dreamer

By Eric D. Graham
Updated: January 25, 2008

NORTH CAROLINA — January 21st is the official day in which America celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The legacy of Dr. King sadly, however has been reduced to a single “I Have a Dream” speech which was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.

Oddly, it’s the same American government that plotted against the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that has utilized this single speech as a tool of propaganda against the unlearned masses.

For instance, one of the most famous excerpts from King’s “I Have Dream Speech” is ….”I have a dream that my four 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.”

But as a nation, America continues the practice racial profiling against Arab-Americans or those who practice the Islamic faith at airports; cops still continue to harass African-America males with no probable cause, and most Mexicans are still viewed as “so-called” illegal immigrants.

As a result, we must move from “Rhetoric to Reality.” It’s easy to memorize the “I Have a Dream Speech,” but very difficult to live up to the revolutionary principles that Dr. King stood for.

For instance, it was the same brilliant civil-rights leader that poetically protested against the war in Vietnam in a speech delivered in April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City when he stated, “A nation that continues year after year to spend money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

Why didn’t President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Dick Chaney, or Condoleezza Rice recite these words to the nation before invading Iraq?

Dr. King also eloquently stated that “War is a poor //<![CDATA[ //]]> chisel to carving out the peaceful tomorrows…..because we have guided missiles and misguided men.

Hopefully, the future political candidates running for President in 2008 will take heed to these words of wisdom.

Dr. King, who attended segregated public schools and graduated from high school at age 15, received his B.A. degree from Morehouse College in Georgia in 1951 and earned his B.D. from Crozer Theological Seminary before going on to earn his Ph.D. from Boston University.

Dr. King, was truly a scholar, philosopher, and a revolutionary who shaped the political and social climate of America. As a result, his prophetic words of the past are still relevant today.

For example, Dr. King is quoted as saying, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

In effect, why did most of the politicians, governmental officials, and the President of the United States remain silent during the atrocities of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the racial injustice of the Jena 6, the inflammatory remarks of Don Imus toward the women’s basketball team of Rutgers University or the recent racial insensitive statements of the Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman toward Tiger Woods.

As we can see, Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is still simply a “DREAM” but we all must WAKE UP to make it a REALITY.