"I Have a Dream" Legacy Prompts Strong Viewer Reaction
COLUMBIA - A spirited conversation about race took place on Facebook after KOMU 8 News posted a question about Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.
The post asked viewers to share their thoughts on "how things have changed and what still needs to be addressed."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous speech at the March for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963, bringing more than a quarter of a million people to the National Mall, according to The King Center's website.
King said, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"
Reaction on the Facebook page indicated there are still strains on race relations.
"It was obviously just a dream. It's never going to happen. Blacks are always saying, 'I bet if I was white that wouldn't have happened,'" Jason Day said. "They get away with too much. We should stop celebrating this day. It has no effect on a lot of people."
Branden Carinder wrote this: "I have a dream. I want to see blacks stop pulling the race card when they don't get their way, and stop seeing all racism."
DaLesa Nichols replied with, "I have a dream Caucasians would stop saying African Americans complain when they don't get their way. Walk a mile in our shoes first!"
Matt Young said the Facebook conversation itself was an indicator of the tension. "You wonder what still needs to be addressed? How about these comments?"
But many who answered the question took a positive approach.
"Our family has been able to adopt trans-racially," Connie Brander Tracy said. "I wish all people from all cultures could accept that we are all the same inside, regardless of skin color. We talk about this because some of our adopted kids have been filled with lies that it is a race issue and this comes up in our daily lives. Hopefully, in the next generation, more walls will come down."
Several offered praise for King and his message.
"I think he was a beautiful man who only wanted peace for everyone," Laura Cornelison said. "His generation of blacks had to use separate schools, bathrooms, and busses; he died for equality. I hope the youth of our nation understand what he did for them and appreciate his bravery and commitment to the people."
King said he hoped the future would bring a change in attitudes. "I have a dream that one day, on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood."
Jenny Kilgore Sapp said she sees some progress on that front. "I don't see color and most of our kids today don't see color. We see equality so for the next generation and the generation after that. I think this is really what King fought for," she said.
King left his audience with these words: "When we allow freedom to ring ... we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, We are free at last.'"
Tina Marie Watson echoed that sentiment with her Facebook post: "We are all God's children, every one of us, red, yellow, black, brown, white, polka dotted whatever! We are all human, there are good, bad, ugly, beautiful, mean, nice, smart, dumb, confident, insecure, poor, rich, generous, greedy ... immoral, no matter what color, what country, what nationality, what religion. Accept, embrace, tolerate the differences, live and let live. Each individual is special and unique and deserves to be judged, loved, hated, respected or looked down upon solely by the content of their character.