In August of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered one of the most impactful and important speeches of the 20th Century. From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and in front of over two hundred thousand Civil Rights supporters, King talked from the heart about his dream for America. One of the most notable quotes was, “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.”
Forty-five years later, the Democratic National Convention in Denver has nominated Barack Obama for President. Barack Obama is a man of color. He is the first black man to be nominated for President by a major political party in the US. He is not, however, the first black man to be nominated in the US.
In 1872, former slave Frederick Douglass was nominated as Vice President on the Equal Rights ticket. He, however, was unaware of his nomination. He was not interested, in fact, in the nomination. He was more interested in continuing his speaking engagements on equality. Frederick Douglass had a dream. That dream was to see everyone, no matter what skin color they had—white, black, red, yellow—work together for the common good. To be equals.
Less than 100 years later, King echoed Douglass’ dream. Even though slavery had been abolished and slaves emancipated, integration into society was less than easy. The Civil Rights movement of the 60’s would guarantee African-Americans their place in America—as equals—as well as grant more equality to the other races and women.
Less than fifty years later, Obama will take the stage and formally accept the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Did Douglass ever dream of the possibility of a black President? Did King? “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”1
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. told the nation his dream. He strayed slightly from his rehearsed speech to discuss the details of his dream. His dream was a dream of equality—something Frederick Douglass had fought for his whole life. King’s dream was a dream of a Nation that was color-blind. On August 28, 2008, Barack Obama will accept something that no one ever dreamed—the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Barack Obama—a free, black man. His ticket promises change. The simple fact that others like him “had a dream” gives him the platform for the changes he desires to make. Change is good. Change has brought this Nation to this historic moment.
Whatever your political alignment and your views of the men and women running for the Nation’s leader, you must admit that King’s dream has, in fact, come true.
For more information, please visit the following links:
Frederick Douglass (wiki)
MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech