Seeking the Dream While Facing Reality

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On August 28th, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered arguably one of the most famous speeches in American History, the “I Have A Dream Speech”. His speech reiterated the frustrations and unwavering hope of the African-American community along with other disenfranchised groups. To many it served as a means to say what they, themselves, weren’t able to say, let alone be given the forum to say. As with many protests and movements today, it incited reactions from all sides whom it addressed. A speech meant to motivate change over 50 years ago has remained, in some aspects, nothing more than a dream. We are still restricted to the parameters of a dream instead of thoughts taking form as reality. The social injustices that were blazingly rampant only went dormant in the recesses of American society like a social virus.

Racism didn’t just consist of signs meticulously hung in store fronts anymore. It was a systemic cancer that dominated and still dominates major aspects of our society. There is still a disparaging difference between what it means to be an American versus being a white American male. The manifesto of #BlackLivesMatter isn’t to incite violence or social unrest, it is a tool meant to show that our long-held dream has become a prison from which we cannot awake. It is to bring to light the issues that have been held within the view of rose colored glasses. Our present is a product of our past and our future will be a product of our present.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 in terms of world history is a relatively new social change for American society and the governance of its people. The Act of 1964 was poised to serve as one of our greatest social peaks in regards to American idealism. It was seen as a means to perpetuate the idea that all men were truly created as equals. Its intentions were to outlaw discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, but recent machinations of American politics have shown inequality has merely shifted its focus. Instead of being attacked openly, our progress has been deduced and vilified as the ramblings of mad men. We are being taught that racism and inequality are a thing of the past as we are still beaten and killed with little regard to our supposedly inalienable rights.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.”

That passage from the I Have a Dream speech highlights the struggle of being a stranger in your own home. It shows the constraints of a dream that has yet to become lucid. It is a reminder of where we came from and where we still currently reside. History always unfolds differently depending on its perspective. And as it stands, we are set to become figments of American society. Our movement, our pride, and our culture must serve as a statement reminding the forgetful that we are here and our struggle isn’t quite over and our dreams will become a reality.

“There are Negroes who will never fight for freedom. There are Negroes who will seek profit for themselves alone from the struggle. There are even some Negroes who will cooperate with their oppressors. These facts should distress no one. Every minority and every people has its share of opportunists, profiteers, free-loaders and escapists.”

– The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Originally from Burnt Corn, Alabama, Derrick is a man with a diverse cultural background. Writing has always been his gift to the world and he is proud to share this gift with others. He tends to focus on social issues and our impact on one another.

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