Baby steps to four o'clock. Baby steps to four o'clock.
The following is an article I wrote that came out today in the local paper, The Murphy Messenger.
It's obviously about the progress seen since the days of Martin Luther King, Jr. In some respects they are giant leaps, yet in other ways we're only taken baby steps.
“The Dream: Progress Report”
In honor of Black History Month, we pause to fill out a progress report.
Less than 45 years ago the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke the following: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”
Since that time many things have transpired for black people, especially in the political arena. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed segregation in US schools and public places, invalidating Jim Crow laws. A second black man has been appointed to the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall was the first in 1961 and Clarence Thomas was appointed in 1991.
We’ve seen the first black Secretary of State, 4th in line to succeed the presidency, in Collin Powell in 2000. In 2004 we saw the first black woman Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
We are at a historic time where we could very well have the first black nominee for president in 46 year old Barak Obama. In a country where black people have been regarded as property and then 3/5 of a human being, that’s quite a shift in perspective.
That doesn’t mean that people of all ethnicities live in perfect harmony in these somewhat united states. But that speaks volumes, I would submit, to the legacy of Dr. King and others like him for valiantly stood firm against injustice.
Yet, with stories such as the “Jena 6” from last year, we know we still have a distance to travel before we fully live out the true meaning of our creed, that all people are created equal, which means they should be treated with dignity and respect.
Some of you can remember white schools and black schools. Some of you can remember white and “colored” drinking fountains.
It can be hard to watch a tree grow seeing it day by day, but with the passing of years an acorn becomes a great oak. It’s encouraging to see the acorn of Dr. King’s dream spreading its branches through each passing year as progress is made. P.S. What might we hope to see in the next 45 years?