“I say to you today, my friends, 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.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Time slips quietly into the past and the lessons of yesterday are often forgotten or misunderstood today. It is unfortunate that the greatest lessons that have been taught to us are frequently whitewashed, sanitized, and distorted. When Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech on the Mall in Washington in 1963, he was a pariah to much of white America, a troublemaker and a threat to the establishment. The FBI had a file on him, Southern Democrats hated him and the Klan had him in their cross-hairs.
Today, a statue of Dr. King will be unveiled on the same Mall where he gave his speech. Politicians and pundits will laud his memory and sing the praises of a world without discrimination. That world only exists in the minds of those naive enough to believe that the cause that Dr. King died for has been realized. We live in a country where discrimination is still rampant in our daily lives. While the Dream lives on, there is still a great struggle to be fought before freedom can truly ring for all people – regardless of race, color, creed, gender or sexual orientation.
It is a simple photograph: the stump of a tree that was felled due to a summer storm, its roots surrounded by tiny saplings trying to grow, trying to be like the tree that once was.
William Stephenson Clark
(Photograph by the author.)