16 January 2006

The state of the dream

"I have a dream 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."

-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 28 August 1963


Today is the annual American holiday commemmorating the Reverand Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

King and other leaders of the civil rights movement of the 1960s did much to advance racial equality in this country. But we've still got a long way go.

Last summer, I visited an exhibit at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia titled "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War". The exhibit focused primarily on the issue of slavery, and the political problems that Lincoln faced in his efforts to abolish slavery.

At the entrance to the exhibit, the dramatic and troubling mood was set by a sign advertising an estate sale back in the days of slavery. It read:


Nov. 24th 1860





When I read that sign, it felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach.

Then, as I stood by the sign with my notebook, copying down the verbiage for use here and wherever else, a large tourist with a deep Southern drawl paused to read the sign. He read it aloud to his wife, and then chuckled and said, "Now that's how things should be, dern it!"

That man made similiar comments throughout the exhibit. My blood boiled.

Hate has its roots in fear. But what makes people so insecure, so frightened of anyone different from themselves?

Why live a life of bitterness, hatred, and fear, when instead you can embrace diversity and live a life of love, joy, and brotherhood?

How can we help these people see the light?

How can we make Dr. King's dream come true for all?

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