Change We Can Believe In
In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech. He had a dream. “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” in 2014, Barack Obama, the first black president, said “I actually think that [the U.S. is] probably in its day to day interactions less racially divided”
(CNN from and interview with NPR and Obama). This gives us the image that King’s dream has been being gradually fulfilled in the last 52 years. But, we must ask ourselves, has it really gotten better? What would King say if he knew of contemporary conditions?
In King’s speech, he states a question that is often asked “When will you be satisfied”. So, King begins to answer this question. He says “We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream”. This response is powerful and lasting. King doesn’t just want to end segregation. He wants also wants blacks to be equal and feel equal to their white counterparts. And as we think about King’s resilient answer, we should think to ourselves. Can we be satisfied? Would King be satisfied? As to which I say, No, we cannot be satisfied. For King would not be satisfied.
King made a point of mentioning voting. In 1963, blacks did not have full voting rights. And those that did often did not vote out of fear of abuse from “the whites” or they felt they had no reason to vote for they were not heard. Today, blacks have just as much freedom to vote a whites. This would partially satisfy King. But, King was not interested in being partially satisfied and he wanted more than just...