August 28, 2008

45 Years: How much progress?

Barack Obama, a black American, will accept the Democratic nomination for President exactly 45 years to the day after Martin Luther King's famous "I have a Dream speech". That speech was given as part of a rally for civil rights, at a time when society was still segragated and race based oppression was an overt element of American life. It is certainly a remarkable day when the race of a presidential candidate seems less of an issue than his political views.
We can be proud of the progress we have made in providing equality of opportunity in this country but we still have enormous race based problems in this country. From rural NC to inner city NY the divide between poverty and progress remains largely a racial one. I don't have the statistics but I don't need them. It is too easy to look at the faces in Columbia NC and around Columbia University and understand this truth.
Take a minute to listen to King's dream, we have reached a day when white and black children play together. We have reached a day when the people are largely not judged by the color of their skin but by the color of their character. We have not reached a day when all Americans can stand together and sing Free at Last, Free at Last. We will get one step closer today but the dream is not complete.
There is still a lot of work to be done.



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