Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Today, sadly, we still live in a society far removed from the goals King profoundly echoed to millions on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.
50 years ago, America witnessed mass racism and segregation on a widespread level. “Whites only” signs were plastered across the South — movie theaters, restaurants, public restrooms, even ambulances. Blacks were subject to oppresion in almost every facet of life. Simply being in the wrong place could constitute jail time, and that was considered a light punishment.
While it’s true that racial relations have come a remarkable distance, however. King’s speech served as an impetus for a multitude of changes and shifts in society to eliminate a significant amount of the harsh and cruel discrimination against people of color, culminating in the election of President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president. Yet, to think today’s society can be considered to be the product of King’s words is simply premature.