Fifty Years Later: A Dream Realized, A Dream Abandoned

This past week, we heard a lot about the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s historic March on Washington.

Commentators and reporters told us what it all meant. Celebrities and news-makers expressed their views on the significance of the speech. We even heard opinions from some of the original participants.

They all presented us with their insights and analysis on the anniversary.

It was truly a great speech by an outstanding orator. No doubt it changed millions of minds and hearts on the subject of race relations in America.

But in all honesty, none of us really knows for sure what kind of future it was that Martin Luther King really envisioned for America.

We can only go by his words.

“I have a dream,” King said, “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.”

All week long, America was subjected to men like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, a pair of sleazy, unprincipled race hustlers, telling us what Mr. King really meant.

These two men, so lacking in both content and character, want us to judge our nation by only the color of one’s skin
However, the nation they want bears no resemblance to the nation of which King spoke.

King articulated a dream which called for a growing unity between the races, not one of suspicion and hatred.

“The marvelous new militancy,” he said, “which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people.”

And based on their recent actions in regards to the George Zimmerman trial, that is precisely the dream that Jackson and Sharpton want for America.

And from going by what the man actually said, I would have to say that we’ve achieved the nation of which King spoke.
“Black men as well as white men,” King said, “would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

We have realized King’s dream.

If Dr. King truly cared about his people, and if he was alive today, then I think he would be sickened and appalled by what he might see, looking out over today’s landscape.

In his speech, Dr. King said, “The Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty.”

From his place there upon the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King dreamed of an escape for his people from that island.

But who could have ever realized that the policies that would come from that very same city on the heels of his speech would be responsible for leading black Americans right back to that lonely island.

So why was Dr. King’s dream abandoned?

The men and women who marched on Washington fifty years ago were a people who greatly loved and supported their families.

At the moment King spoke, black Americans had a much lower divorce rate than their white counterparts. Out-of-wedlock births were much lower in black communities than they were in the rest of the population.

Black males married the mothers of their children. Black fathers stayed in their homes. Black fathers taught their sons to do the same.

Fifty years ago, there were relatively few nationwide restrictions on any form of gun ownership. But despite that fact, young black males were not routinely using those guns to kill other young black males.

That was the black America in which King spoke.

But Lyndon Johnson wasn’t satisfied with freedom for black Americans. In reality, he opposed Civil Rights, by instituting policies that would return black Americans to a more insidious form of slavery.

When Johnson started his so-called “War on Poverty,” he said, “I’ll have those n***ers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”

Therefore, when government became the black community’s primary means of support, then the black family quickly deteriorated.

Divorces increased. Out-of-wedlock births skyrocketed. Abortions multiplied. Black-on-black crime became commonplace. Poverty became rampant.

In much of America, the two-parent, black home became an aberration.

And Dr. King’s dream was transformed into a nightmare.

I am certainly not advocating that black America return to the time when they were forced to take their place in the back of the bus or to drink from “Whites Only” water fountains.

I am suggesting, however, that the black community return to the same values they embraced when Dr. King spoke.

When the dream was still alive.

Image: Old Guard, MLK Memorial promotion ceremony; author: DVIDSHUB; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

R.G. Yoho

About the author, R.G. Yoho: R.G. Yoho is a Western author who has published seven books, including “Death Comes to Redhawk,” along with a non-fiction work entitled “America’s History is His Story.” View all articles by R.G. Yoho

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