45 Years Later: Is the Dream Fulfilled?

3 days before I was born, a man made a great speech. Tomorrow, will his dream be realized?

There is no doubt we have come a long way in race relations. To answer my question, I will let the good Doctor begin to answer it for you:

“When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot 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, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

It has hard to determine just exactly when justice begins to roll down like waters, but on a cold night in Chicago last November, it sure looked pretty close. Tomorrow, it may be even closer. But King, in his dream, even gives us a little clue what this dream will look like:

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

It looks pretty close to me. But I am still not so sure.

As someone who lives near Chicago, it is clear that the plight of equality in the inner cities is far from the land of equality. Therein lies the next part of the dream. And the question now becomes, since Obama will be President in a little over 22 hours, how will education change? I think of all the things that Obama will influence in the coming years, it will be in education. Not from any policy, or legislation, or visionary belief, but rather the color of his skin. Children all across the inner cities of our country will look up on the wall and see amongst the dead white guys (and 4 living ones) one man of color, one man of race, who rose above it all to become the 44th president of the United States. That will be the motivator. That will help the inner city more than any government hand out, or program, just the fact the black man could become president will totally reshape their lives. And by their own education, they will reshape the world in which they live. America will become that place in the dream. That is the when dream is fulfilled.


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