Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is. - Oscar Wilde
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I was 3 years old when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted into law and had little real understanding of what it really meant at the time. As a kid of an age in single digits two of my best friends were a couple of brothers that lived two houses down my block. That their father was black and their mother white, and that their marriage was illegal still in many states, never hit my radar.
In elementary school I remember the children’s schoolyard songs and taunts changing over time, racially charged terms no longer accepted by the adults amid our own dawning understanding of bigotry.
In the decades since I have to admit a certain disappointment in an America that still cannot seem to eradicate racism and intolerance, but I have hope that perhaps we have finally beget a generation who will give truth to Dr King’s dream.
For my part, on this day, every year for the last several I have listened to Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ and ‘Mountaintop’ speeches. I will do the same on every year I have left to me. When others are around I turn it up loud enough for them to hear, but it doesn’t matter if it’s just for my ears because the change he dreamed of must take root one heart and one mind at a time.
I Have a Dream – August 28, 1963
An excerpt of his last speech, the “Mountaintop” speech, given on April 3, 1968, the day before he was assassinated.
The full speech can be found here.
To learn more about Dr King and his leadership in the Civil Rights movement visit The King Center website and MLK Online.