The Dream Lives On

“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.)


Filed under Diversity

8 responses to “The Dream Lives On

  1. What a wonderful tribute, Will!

    No, we aren’t past discrimination of any kind. Racial, sexual, spiritual, anything ‘different’ is too much for some to handle with any amount of grace.

  2. As usual the photograph is stunning! You do capture and make stay still the images we too often just overlook.

  3. indypendent

    I’ve seen the currrent debate about the Chinese Sculptor that did the Martin Luther King memorial and how wrong that is – yada, yada and more yada.

    Then I heard one black man on some MSNBC show that stated it quite simply and eloquently – he said that having a Chinese Sculptor do the work was exactly what MLK was talking about when he preached about how all races should be considered for their talents and not the color of ther skin or their race.

    And when you think about it that way – maybe Martin Luther King would be proud that a talented Chinese sculptor was the one that captured the essence of MLK and his message?

  4. indypendent

    The picture above reminds me that I need to continue to hope that even during all these troubling times with the deep poltiical, religious, economical and racial division – that our country is stronger than its internal struggles.

    That somehow the country will survive but exactly how will it come out on the other side? That is the question.

    I watched a part of a documentary last night about President Lincoln and his final trip home by rail after he was assassinated.

    The narrator was telling how Lincoln was reviled, despised and hated – and these were the ones from his own Cabinet – not counting the rest of the country.

    But when Lincoln was assassinated – everyone had to reconcile themselves to the man they had called vile names, had depicted him as evil, etc.

    It was through Lincoln’s death that somehow this country started to merge again and become, once again, a united country.

    God, I hope history is not about to repeat itself. John F Kennedy’s assassination was bad enough but I really wonder if Obama were to be assassinated – would the ‘right’ even care to reconcile themselves with Obama for the good of the country? These folks do not seem to care about the good of the country when he is alive and trying to keep our country from going over the cliff.

    I really wondered about that last night – as I was trying to fall asleep. When will Americans get it through their thick skulls that we are all in the same boat here in the US?

    Geesh, I am sick and tired of partisan poltiics.

    Hopefully, the picture above will inspire me to find that one spark deep in my soul that I know -even without evidence today – that Americans will once again start being – united.

    By united, I do not mean we are all one big happy family (because that will never happen). But to be united in one goal which is to be the best country we can be. Is that too much to ask?

    • While we’re talking about change and recognizing all change isn’t good, watch this powerful video about the rapid growth of social media and it’s impact on the world. Will the younger generation of our world make the future bright? Maybe we think too narrowly when we think about our country, maybe it’s time to acknowledge a global world.

  5. WSClark

    When we get discouraged by the effort of standing up against the tides of Tea Con philosophy, we need to truly think back to the struggles of the Civil Rights movement and the heroes that gave everything in the face of threats of violence and death. Our struggles pale in comparison.

    The Tea Cons claim to represent “Real Americans” but the truth is that real American have remained largely silent.

    The economy is in terrible shape. The Wars linger on. Progressives suffered a monumental set back in the mid-term elections. President Obama has not been able to deliver on many of his promises. The world economy teeters on the edge.

    Now is not the time to quit. Now is the time to remember the lessons from Dr. King.

    • indypendent

      IIRC – these TEa Party Cons are also the same folks that have tried to throw in reverse discrimination in every other sentence they manage to scream.

      Remember Glenn Beck and his diatribe about how Obama hates his white heritage and all the white people?

      It seems these Tea Cons don’t like the black president because he is not proud enough of his whiteness – did I get this twisted logice correct?

      FWIW – I’ve never heard Obama diss his white or black heritage – maybe the Tea Cons should do some ancestry digging of their own and then we’ll talk about who is proud of what heritage – huh?

  6. Chris Abani muses on humanity

    TED Talks Chris Abani tells stories of people: People standing up to soldiers. People being compassionate. People being human and reclaiming their humanity. It’s “ubuntu,” he says: the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me.