50th Anniversary Of Dr King’s “I Have A Dream”

August 28, 2013

[Written by U.S. Consul General to Bermuda Bob Settje]

Today [Aug 28] marks one of the most important anniversaries in the history of the United States. Fifty years ago, on August 28, 1963, a quarter of a million people marched to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, in support of civil rights for African Americans.

It was there that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which articulated the overarching demand of the U.S. civil rights movement: equal rights for all citizens, regardless of the color of their skin. The speech created a new spirit of hope across America and, ultimately, helped forever change the nation.

luther-king speech

Legislative change came quickly. Within a year, President Lyndon Johnson had signed into law the Civil Rights Act which swept away some of the more blatant forms of racism and segregation by banning discrimination in public facilities and employment.

In 1965, Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act to ensure that African Americans had the right to vote in reality as well as on paper. In 1968, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act to eliminate discrimination in the purchase and renting of accommodation. New policies such as affirmative action complemented these landmark bills to counter the legacy of discrimination and to promote African American advancement.

Attitudes, however, changed more slowly. Despite the efforts of Dr. King and those who came after, racial discrimination did not suddenly come to an end. The 1960s were an era of racial turmoil in the United States. A 1963 Newsweek poll revealed that 74 percent of whites said racial integration was “moving too fast.”

In the 1968 presidential election, George Wallace, an avowed segregationist, garnered 13.5% of the popular vote and carried five states. Even today, some of the old attitudes persist. As recent events have shown all too clearly, there are still those in the United States who harbor enmity toward others solely because of their race or ethnicity.

Yet we have made progress, as well. Over the years, more and more African Americans as well as persons of other racial and ethnic backgrounds have advanced politically and economically and now participate in our national discourse.

That we have made great strides became evident in 2008, when what would have been unthinkable in 1963 happened: Barack Obama became the nation’s first African-American president. Significantly, he won 43 percent of the white vote – the largest share of white support of any Democrat in a two-candidate race since 1976.

Dr. King’s dream at the March on Washington is now part of the political mainstream, his birthday a national holiday during which Americans honor his ideas and his memory. His message has universal significance. He fought for racial justice everywhere, not just in the United States.

He traveled the world proclaiming his vision of the “beloved community” and defining racism as a worldwide evil. “Among the moral imperatives of our time, we are challenged to work all over the world with unshakable determination to wipe out the last vestiges of racism,” he said. “It is no mere American phenomenon. Its vicious grasp knows no national boundaries.”

If Dr. King were alive today, he would certainly celebrate the attainment of many of the goals of the civil rights movement. Yet he would recognize that his dream of “a nation where [little children] will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” has not been fully realized. It remains for all of us to continue Dr. King’s work in the United States, Bermuda, and the rest of the world.

- Bob Settje

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Comments (46)

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  1. Mazumbo says:

    50 years ago don’t seem that far back but from King to Obama is progress unfortunately racism and prejudice because of ones color will always be around but its a good article something our youth need to appreciate.

  2. Black Bird says:

    I have a dream, Bermuda will be free of hidden Racism which is alive and well in our community.

  3. Xman says:

    I went – just got back – great event!
    Sadly the sick Republicans are trying to turn back the clock. —
    The United States should have no right involving themselves in War around the World
    and trying to tell other Countrys what to do when Civil Rights in America still has a ways to go.
    They would rather send Egypt,Tiawain,Israel Billions of Dollars worth of aid and yet can’t give some
    young 4 year old Black baby a bowl of Oatmeal because he is Black — sad.

    • E$ says:

      what about de 4 year old White baby. how come he ain’t got no bowl of oatmeal?! what about him. *OH with ya garbage

      • Daddy says:

        Dear son,

        You miss the point, but then again I dropped you on your head to many times when you was a baby.

      • Xman says:

        E$
        My words stand because they are true
        - and yes little White boy too ! go hungry while the US gives away Billions of Dollars
        Unfortunatly for your Red neck – hill billy mind set you missed the whole point
        and yes it would be garbage to you because you don’t know any better.

  4. E$ says:

    I have a dream….where all of Bermuda can work together AND where one day we’ll legalize Marijuana for everyone!

    • Impressive says:

      i dont know if that was a attempt at a joke,, but trying to make light of the struggle that Dr. King and others like him endured to get rid of segregation and racial injustice and attempt to compare it to legalizing herb is at best childish.. Its just as bad as the gay community comparing their fight to end discrimination to the struggles black people faced.. They didnt carry millions of herb smokers or gay people on a boat from their home land after they captured them, hold them in the bottom of a ship, carry them miles away from their homeland, sell them to the highest bidder to work for them and treat them like they where dirt. get a grip

      • E$ says:

        And who started that first?! Blacks and the Portugeuse. Your point?! Neeeeext

        • Mazumbo says:

          And de White man capitalized on it , benefited from it and still benefiting from it ,so what’s your point!!

        • Impressive says:

          that is officially, the most immature reply I have ever had to a comment.. so you have made history today in my mind if nothing else.. so if your cousin starts burning down houses, and later on after this crime catches on, you house gets burned down by someone else.. so you are suggesting that you yourself dont have a right to be mad because your cousin started burning down houses first..

          i swear I am in a damm nursery school at times.. wth

          • Come Correct says:

            yet you have no issue demonizing the “white man” which could be so many cultures. I’m part Irish part Portuguese, I guess I should hate half myself.

            • Mazumbo says:

              Question is does the mainstream white society look at you like they look at African descendants , my great grandfather is an English man but I’m not excepted in the Anglo-Saxon circle, regardless if your Irish, Portuguese or whatever, African descendants have not been accepted by most European groups, and for your information Portuguese, Spaniards and Italians ALL have African blood in them from the Moors.

              • Come Correct says:

                Maybe that’s why I tan so well. Either way your hate and/anger only blinds you. How are you supposed to fight for a better world if you cant even see straight? If you think all whites are accepted in whatever circle you would like to call it I believe they refer to them as trailer trash these days. It has nothing to do with race, never did, it’s always been about the money, who would give it to them and who they could take it from. Oh, and it’s no different today.

              • E$ says:

                Lets break it down like dis.

                1. All of us are Africans one way or another, whether we like it or not.

                2. I find that hard to believe that you don’t “fit” into the European groups in Bermuda. Maybe you’re own doing?!

                3. As far as um concerned almost ALL “European groups” in Bermuda accept “African” people, besides the select few, and um using dat lightly.

  5. Daddy says:

    Dear son,

    Sorry for dropping you on your head. Yes medical marijuana will assist in your recovery.

    • E$ says:

      glad ya livin up to de deadbeat dad you really are…

      • Daddy says:

        Dear son,

        The woman you call mom is not your mother. We both found you in a crack house before the Government was getting ready to knock it down.

        • E$ says:

          At last you finally admit you’re a user…wondering why you came home all hours in the morning. You shouldn’t have given your body away for crack just to feed me…

  6. john says:

    we have falling so far backwards since then

  7. john says:

    the Portugeuse and the italians started the slave trade, christopher columbus was in it to, all were catholics so the chuch had the power italy and Portugeuse were in dispute over lines of territory so they go to the pope to settle this matter, the pope say you two faithfull cathloic nations stop quarreling with each other and,,”You are authorized to reduce to servitude all infidel people.” in the name of god,,,,,,,,,,smh

    just a little history

  8. john says:

    they teach us his-story in school ,,,but this is real history

  9. kieth,n says:

    The Spanish, who dominated the West for a time, did not call their enslaved Afrikans by the name of the nation or continent they belonged to, accept to record where they were captured or bought. They described them by the color of their skin. In the Spanish language, ‘Negro’ means black…Negro was used to describe a slave; being a slave was Negro; being Negro was a slave.

  10. kieth,n says:

    Christians used the following biblical scriptures to justify slavery:

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

    Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

    is everyone reading this? cause its in your bible,
    aka the fariy tale book

  11. kieth,n says:

    either jesus said this, or his boy paul,
    someone help me out

  12. lay down! says:

    I have DREAM to : For the PLP STOP using the race card on every election WE have! THANKS!

  13. lay down! says:

    @ john the “portuguese and the italians started the slave trade”. Sure about that!? I thought it was the ancient kings and queens of Africa that started it all! Or are u another one that chooses to not look at that part of history.

    • Mazumbo says:

      There where different levels and terminology of slavery in Africa.
      Chattel Slavery, Debt Bondage and Pawnship which is a mild form of Debt Bondage which is a vast contrast of the brutal, insane and barbaric treatment that the Europeans enforced. Even the Europeans had their own form on their own in the Medieval times called Serfdom, so to justify that Africans enslaved their own is no comparison to the Generational Genocide that was inflicted on the Africans in the Trans- Atlantic Slave trade. Good try mate !!!!

      • Toodle-oo says:

        Ever read the theory of modern historical anthropologists who now believe that Africans were willingly sold to the white man to rid the country of the lazy and bad attitude ones ?

        How to commit genocide AND make money at the same time comes to mind .

        Some might believe that it explains a whole lot of things.

      • Double Standards says:

        Interesting that you believe there are more acceptable and humane forms of slavery…

  14. kieth,n says:

    the africains had slaves say if someone owed something to someone,they would work it off but they were in some cases allowed to leave,
    and after it was worked of the were free to go,,maybe some cruels ones here and there ,,,but on the scale of the whites slave masters,, no comparison,

  15. kieth,n says:

    yeah i looked at that part ,,,im not bias at all family

  16. kieth,n says:

    portuguese and spain started it,, england made it big business

    • Come Correct says:

      and Africans traded Africans for “boom sticks”, any irony there? While your heads are stuck in the past there capitalizing on even more, like pushing pharmaceutical drugs down your throat to keep you alive as long as you have money. Money done, you’re done. Remember it, move on and focus on the now or it will be your children that suffer. Never forgive, never forget.

      • Mazumbo says:

        Move on and focus on the now I agree but only COWARDS are afraid to face the reality that racism is still alive and well and don’t want to talk about it, and as far as Africans trading Africans for “boom sticks” Africa was the Mecca for Education, Higher Learning, Medicine, Astrology etc, when Europeans where trying to survive in the Caucas Mountains running around on all fours !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Mazumbo says:

          Now that’s IRONIC ! lmao

        • Come Correct says:

          Running around on all fours? I wouldn’t go that far. Don’t make me go Mike Hind and ask for evidence lol. Yes Africa had that, so did many other civilizations and a select few destroyed that for their own profitable greed. When the history books open in another 400 years where will you be, bitchin about oppression on bernews?

  17. kieth,n says:

    i mean anyone can look this up ,,cause i can tell you their not teaching it in school

  18. kieth,n says:

    and theres more ,,,,it gets gooder

  19. Black Bird says:

    “Hidden Colors” will explain it all.

  20. kieth,n says:

    every one check out hidden colours