Editorial:Obama legacy builds on MLK’s dream

Editorial:Obama legacy builds on MLK’s dream
January 19
07:45 2017

So many people couldn’t believe that a black man could be elected president of the United States of America ever, let alone in their lifetimes. But it happened in November 2008, in the 21st century.

Barack Obama brought hope to a country on the brink of economic catastrophe and weary of their soldiers fighting on false pretenses. He had bared his soul in the books he had written before coming president. He talked about hope all through his presidential campaign. We were elated that other Americans wanted them to be their president, too.

We had heard another man talk about hope and a dream. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the iconic civil rights leader, told us in the 20th century, on August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., during the March on Washington, that he had a dream:

“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

“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.

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

“I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

“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.

“I have a dream today!

“I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of ‘interposition’ and ‘nullification’ – one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

“I have a dream today!

“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; ‘and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.’

“This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.” (From Estate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Intellectual Properties Management)

Dr. King probably could not imagine that a black man would become the most powerful man on earth as president of the United States of America. President Obama has helped some of Dr. King’s dream move forward. But as we all know, some of the same things Dr. King talked about in the 20th century are still around in this new century. They are just dressed in new clothing.

The “vicious racists” are still in Alabama, but they now use different means of voter suppression, such as closing voter registration sites in black areas. The “vicious racists” are here in North Carolina, too, using tactics such as a voter ID law and restricting early voting sites and days. (A federal court struck down the voter ID law.)

President Obama has implemented policies, trying to get Dr. King’s dream going, such as Obamacare. He formed My Brother’s Keeper to help develop young black men into men such as Dr. King and himself. Winston-Salem has a chapter of the organization. We need to start nurturing the next Barack Obama to help us really overcome, even though it might not be until the 22nd century.

As President Obama leaves office tomorrow, Jan. 20, let us thank him, as the Rev. Jesse Jackson says, and be encouraged, because President Obama says he is not fading away. He is only 55 years old, so he has a lot of youth in him to keep working.

But we must do our part. President Obama says it has been the American people who propelled him and made constructive changes over the years. We need to take that to heart and press on toward the high mark of real freedom.

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