Today is a very special day for my America, although my day here in Germany is almost over. It’s the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It’s also the day of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. For me, it’s always been one of the greatest speeches I’ve ever heard.
On May 8, 1967, Dr. King gave a very telling interview to NBC News correspondent Sander Vanocur. It was just four years after his landmark speech. It aired on June 11, 1967, the fourth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s landmark civil rights speech.
Dr. King’s blunt words about his own speech are quite interesting:
“I must confess that dream I had that day has, at many points, turned into a nightmare. Now I’m no one to lose hope. I keep on hoping. I still have faith in the future, but I had to analyze many things over the last few years and, I’d say, over the last few months. I’ve gone through a lot of soul-searching and agonizing moments and I’ve come to see we have many more difficult days ahead. And some of the old optimism was a little superficial and now it must be tempered with a solid realism. and I think the realistic fact is that we have a long way to go.”
Eleven months later, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be assassinated.
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No matter his doubts in 1967, or our doubts today, I thank him for his sacrifice to not only save the soul of this country, but to allow me–an millions of others–to live a life many of my ancestors could never have dreamed a “colored man” could.
But we’re not there yet. There’s still work to be done. We all have a responsibility to change Dr. King’s nightmare back into his dream for America.
Here is a clip from that interview:
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