Wednesday, August 28, 2013
As readers of my blog recognize, I love milestone anniversaries of historic events. These public anniversaries bring the conversations of history out of the typical academic settings and into the forefront of mainstream, public discussion. They engage Americans in our shared past.
Today marks the 50th anniversary since the famous March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Fifty years later, we are now at a tipping point where less Americans are old enough to have directly experienced the civil rights movement. For the masses of younger Americans who did not experience this time period first-hand, we are the beneficiaries of this era. But as we assess Dr. King's speech, we must ask: Is the dream fulfilled? Does American society today reflect what this speech envisions? If the answer is no, then why not and what must change? These are just a few challenging questions that important historical anniversaries raise and important questions to raise as we shape the future of our great nation.