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KIMT News 3 – The words are timeless, and so are the impressions left on many today who say the “I Have the Dream” this was the turning point for the civil rights movement of the 60’s.
As they did 50 years ago, thousands are gathering.
This time to commemorate the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
An experience that experts say was a first for many Americans tuning in that day.
“Americans, white, black and everything in between were all watching on the evening news seeing, for a lot of people for the first time what southern justice meant for African-Americans. They were seeing it on TV as it was happening,” said Blake Slonecker, Assistant History Professor at Waldorf College.
As a History professor for Waldorf College in Forest City, Slonecker understands the significance of Dr. King’s speech.
He says while we have made many strides toward equality, the speech intended for so much more.
“On a legal basis, African-Americans and White people are equal. In many ways though, that was the easy work. King realized that King realized that really quickly. His vision, his dream was that essentially his children could sit down at the same table as white children and have a meal,” said Slonecker.
Others agree, many opportunities are available for equal rights, but there’s still much to be done.
“If he had a list and there were ten things, I would scratch probably seven things off that list that we have overcome. The other three, those are things we’re still working on,” said Terrence Johnson, Junior at Waldorf College.
Terrence Johnson believes that if Dr. King was here today, he would be proud of how far his dream has come, but there’s one major issue he says we need to overcome.
“There’s some stuff we haven’t overcome. Like black on black violence and that was something that he didn’t dream about. He dreamed about that there was peace in the world and everybody could get along with everybody and there’s no violence and no killing children,” said Johnson.
For some, the ability to have the discussion on race and where we are today is enough to make them believe in a brighter future.
Professor Slonecker also talked about the high incarceration rates for young black men today and how they’re much higher than in the 60’s.
He says this goes against what we’ve come to tell ourselves in the movement and should be a focus as well.