1963 vs. 1995
Martin L. King Jr. accelerated civil rights reformation in 1963. When King made his "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, social problems, segregation, and violence such as Jim Crowism and the act of the Ku Klux Klan actions still widely existed. Yet, has his dream become a reality today? In spite of laws that are meant to end racial discrimination. In jobs, education, and legal rights, discrimination still exists in America today.
Statistics show that in Black America, progress has come about extremely slow. The percentage of families receiving income in each range, computed from 1986 dollars, show that since there is more poverty and more affluence, wider income gap exists between the blacks and the whites in American society. Three-fourths of the black males held jobs such as service workers, material movers, and assemblers, all of which are manual labor jobs with low wages. In 1984, 20% of the black population was making less than $5000 a year. The average of 48.6% were making $10,000 to $35,000 per year and only 8.8% were making over $50,000 a year. The reason could be that in 1987, only 83.8% of blacks graduated from high school and only 9.1% finished college (NY Times pg. 34).
Blacks and Black leaders today have recognized the inequalities of race in America today. Sixty- one percent of the Black community tends to believe that they do not receive equal pay as whites, but 69% of the white community does. Jonathan Rubenstein wrote to Newsweek after the LA Riots and said, "until we can establish some kind of public order there will be no hope, no employment, and no education. (Newsweek pg. 44) Martin L. King's widow, Coretta Scott King, believes "We have made significant progress in reducing social segregation however, ...sores of poverty, racism and violence continue. (Jet, pg. 14) Dr. Joseph Lowery feels that "...legal segregationism is dead, police brutality and economic disparity are...alive...Neither the Bill of Rights in the Constitution nor the Beatitudes in the Bible have come true." Spike Lee worries about his children in the community and says "Skin color in the black community is still very much an issue. And to think that a group of people want to be further distinguished is bullsh--." (Newsweek, Feb. 13,1995) Finally, Edley and Sperling wrote "the Second Reconstruction is imperiled in part because ideological blinders keep each side from seeing the undeniable kernel of truth clenched in the opponent's fist."
Mansa Musa writes her opinion of what Martin L. King's dream may have been today in Village Life on Jan. 23,1995:
"...I have a dream that...the violent epidemic that is plaguing our nation... will give way to compassion and non- violence...this country will take charge to arrest in the immoral practices of babies having babies...that one day we will have a drug free society ...rid of AIDS...or am I just dreaming a dreamer's dream?"
It is obvious that the black community went from slavery to poverty during Martin L. King's time, yet now Black Americans face brutality. It is true that although most legal issues are set straight, personal issues are still within people's heart, whether obvious or hidden. Until people can judge on a personality rather than skin, Martin L. King will "continue" dreaming.
Newsweek May 11, '92 pp. 44-51