Thursday, August 28, 2008
"45 years later--I Have a Dream, Too"
One thing I've noticed about turning 50 is that I have a tendency to vividly recall historical things I remember hearing and seeing either in-person or on television. I started kindergarten in September 1963--I was five years old. I recall the full year prior to turning five years old because I wanted to be five so badly so I could go to school.
For my fifth birthday I received the present of my dreams--a 26-volume set of Britannica Junior Encyclopedias. The irony is that I wanted these books so badly but I couldn't even read yet. I was fortunate that my parents were young enough o envision a day when I would be an avid reader and to this day I am.
Three days after my 5th birthday, my brother Mark who was about 3 years old and I sat with our mother and watched the March on Washington on television. I didnt really understand why they were marching but I do recall noting there was a huge crowd of what could have easily been over 50 people! I would later learn that there were over 200 thousand people. I recall seeing the Lincoln Memorial and the fountain where people were standing around it.
Dr. Martin Luther King spoke to the crowd and the people became excited at his words. I just recall the last words, "Free at last, free at last--Thank God Almighty we're free at last!"
I would later learn that the "I Have a Dream" speech was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. It was the culmination of the Civil Rights "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom". This single event was considered a defining moment in Civil Rights history.
Dr. King spoke of the desire for a future where blacks and whites would coexist harmoniously as equals. The March on Washington put pressure on the Kennedy Administration to advance Civil Rights legislation in Congress.
Dr. King was named Time Magazine's 'Man of the Year' for 1963 & 1964. He was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize--the youngest person in history to ever receive the award.
45 years later, Senator Barack Obama is poised to become the first African American to be elected to the office of President of the United States of America.
I have a dream that together, Americans from all walks of life will come together in November 2008 to make this happen.
Today is a great day in American history as Senator Obama accepts the Democratic Party nomination tonight on the anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech. He is standing on the shoulders of a giant.
Rest in Peace Dr. King.