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Dr. King’s Dreams Are Coming True

“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,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963. Some would say that his dream has finally come true. Others would say that that day is still far off in the future.

Whether you agree that Dr. King’s children are judged by the content of their characters or not, no one can deny that a lot has changed for the better since the day King made that speech. For example, in 2006, I had an African-American professor who told our class a story about the day she went to a special gathering with her mother in a southern state, the name of which I can’t recall. When they got to the hotel where the function would be held and where they would stay, my professor’s mother began to cry. When asked why, the woman said that the last time she’d come to that hotel, she had been told to enter through the rear door. On that day, she and her daughter proudly entered through the front.

In 2009, we witnessed the inauguration of the United States’ first African-American president. Interracial couples where one person is black and the other white can be seen everywhere, even in some parts of the deep south. Although blacks in the United States haven’t achieved the equality that King dreamed about, they have made tremendous strides in the right direction. But there’s so much more to King’s legacy.

King demonstrated that when we stand together, we can effect change. He also showed us that non-violent resistance is effective. It’s not uncommon to hear someone say that he was influenced by King, even if that someone lives as far away as Egypt. Rumor has it that the people of Egypt were inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to wage a – for the most part – non-violent revolution that led to the ousting of Hosni Mubarak and his regime in 2011. King, himself, was so inspired by Mohandas Ghandi’s success with non-violent resistance against the British that in 1959, he visited Ghandi’s birthplace of Porbandar, India. When he returned to the United States, he followed Ghandi’s lead and used non-violent protests during the Civil Rights Movement. One of the highlights of that movement was the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. King led the boycott in support of Rosa Parks who was arrested for not giving up her seat in the front of the bus to a white passenger. The boycott lasted for over a year, but in the end, the United States District Court did away with segregation on public buses in Montgomery.

All Americans, not just African-Americans, have benefited from King’s triumphs in the Civil Rights Movement. And no matter how slow the process may be, his dreams really are coming true.

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