Ode to a King: A Dream Deferred

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. – Excerpt from I Have a Dream

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. championed civil rights for African-Americans. Some could say he was a martyr for the cause of equality. His life’s work illustrates how we are to love and care for another. It demonstrates how we should set aside petty differences and focus on the content of one’s character.

He lived his dream.

Today is the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. His work to provide racial equality ranks him as one of the most important figures in the annals of American history. His tireless efforts and his words have lived on long after his death. People will honor him by putting up inspirational Facebook quotes. We’ll reflect on his life and achievements. We’ll look toward the future to be better human beings. We’ll look to truly be our neighbors brother or sister. We’ll look to be in this life together.

For one day.

Tomorrow, God bless us to see it, is another day. No more quotes. No more words. No more inspirational pictures on Instagram. None of that. Until the next major racial issue occurs anyway. Until that time, Dr. King’s words fade to the background as our brothers and sisters become our enemies. His dream then becomes deferred yet again as we wade through controversy in search for brotherly peace. Langston Hughes may have been before the times of Dr. King, but he asked a vital question that remains unanswered.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

  • Langston Hughes

What happened to Dr. King’s dream? Has it been realized? Or, have we prolonged the realization of it? Have we truly reached racial equality? Do we really love like we say? Or, have we allowed the dream to become a heavy load? Have we reached the point where the dream no longer applies? Or, do we need these words more now than ever before?

What happened to Dr. King’s dream?

Whatever the answers, understand that your life is an ode to the dream of Dr. King.

Are you living it?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Eddie Gilliam says:

    Excellent voice. Keep the dream alive

    Liked by 1 person

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