Martin Luther King, Jr. - A Man and His Dream

"A Man Can't Ride Your Back Unless it's Bent". Martin Luther King, Jr.

What his dream looks like today...

While I sit and ponder on another third Monday in January . . a thought came to me; what does Martin L. King Jr.'s, dream look like in today's world? Personally, I feel we still have a long way to go. Reverend King was not only a non violent activist for civil rights, he also rallied against our nations involvement in Viet Nam and problems in the foreseeable future regarding the environment.

Dr. King will always be remembered for the ultimate sacrifice he gave in the fight for civil rights. Reverend King, and President Obama believe in the words spoken by President Abraham Lincoln during his annual message to Congress in 1862;

"Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility."

I shutter while reading these words spoken so long ago, because they're still relevant for this generation. The speech is almost prophetic.

"If we forget history we are doomed to repeat it." No truer words were ever spoken. The history of the treatment of Blacks in this nation is a blackeye, and other than the slaughter, rape and theft of the native citizens of this land, can be counted as one of the darkest eras in our nation's past.

The first recorded trading of slaves for goods was in 1619, bay a Dutch ship in Jamestown, Virginia. It picked up tobacco and paid for the shipment with twenty African slaves. Twenty people torn away from home and kin, thrust into an unknown environment unable to communicate with their captors. By the 1700's enslaved blacks would comprise the majority of the workforce in some of the southern colonies. Eighty-one years of kidnapping, enslaving, torturing, raping and murdering of human beings.

In 1856, Dred Scott, a slave, sued for his freedom and lost. Why, because the Supreme Court ruled that the choice to own slaves was a personal one a private matter for each citizen to struggle with internally, and should not be interfered with by the state. The court declared Dred Scott therefore, chattel-human property, in possession of his owner, and an an owner had the right to do what he wanted with his assets.

During the Lincoln - Douglas debate, October 15, 1858; Abe Lincoln said: " it is the eternal struggle between two principles, right and wrong, throughout the world. It is the same spirit that says 'you toil and work and earn bread, and i"ll eat it.' No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation, and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle."

Slavery ended in 1865, but final legal abolishment was not performed until July 1, 1928. 1880 - 1920 - was the advent of the convict lease system. It's a loophole that was found in the 13th Amendment, which supposedly abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.

The Amendment states; "Neither slavery no involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction".

In 1883 Alabama 10% of its total revenue was derived from convict leasing, by 1898 it was 73% and all the convicts were Black. Convicts were leased to wealthy prominent Georgian families who worked them on railroads, and coal mines. State officials didn't empower overseers, so the working conditions, treatment and dispositions of the convicts were completely unknown. Mines and plantations that used this type of labor had secret graveyards containing bodies of prisoners who had been beaten / or tortured to death. Convicts would be made to fight each other to the death as sort of a sport for the guards and wardens. This and other genocidal crimes continued until July 1, 1928, when Herbert Hoover while vying for the White House decided to close the loophole.

In the years and decades to follow my people were hung from trees, bridges and telephone poles. Very often victims were tortured and mutilated before death, burned alive, castrated, and dismembered. Their teeth, fingers, ashes, clothes, and sexual organs were sold as keepsakes. What ghoulish plunder, what manner of being is this that calls itself human and Christian in the same breath?

Lynchings were viewed as a community event and sanctioned. Lynchings were frequently publicized well in advance, so people could dress in their Sunday best, traveling long distances just for the occasion. Clergymen and business leaders often participated, and few who participated in the actual deed were ever punished. Railroad companies ran special excursions trains to allow spectators to watch lynchings. Mobs would swell to 15,000 people and tickets were sold as if taking a human life was no more than a concert or spectator outing.

Yet on January 15, 1929 a child was born who would stand toe to toe with those who performed these acts of genocide / homicide, and would silently quote Poe's "Raven" nevermore. The child grew to become a man among men. A man of strength and character, that very few men possess then or now, conjoined with moral indignation.

A man of the cloth who knew he had God on his side, and could not sleep another night as long as there were people in this so called free country who were unfairly treated only because they exist. This man stood tall as children were being bombed by cowards dressed in pillow cases and sheets. These hoodlums who scurried in the shadows like rats to burn crosses and deliver drive by shootings of homes occupied by Blacks. No better than their gang banging counterparts today who commit the same genocide on their own.

Martin Luther King, Jr., campaigned for what he felt was right even with the threat of jail, bodily harm, to kin and friend. He and his faithful followers marched, together, black and white, common man and celebrities until Washington could bury their heads no longer. What made this man so special? He spilled no blood of any human, never shot anyone, armed or unarmed, turned the other cheek when struck. We give lip service to it, but he lived it ....what would Jesus do?

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, and all those who followed and died for our cause are the reason we now have a man of color in the White House. The "white only" signs are physically gone, but still exist in the minds of racist.

I mentioned the stark true history of slavery in the paragraphs above, because the civil rights battle has become homogenized since King's death. He lead this non-violent battle not only for voting rights, or seat placements in buses and restaurants, but to put a stop to the wholesale slaughter of a people.

Well Dr. King, we have come a long way, and your dream is somewhat a reality, but I think you wanted mankind to live and love in peace. That, unfortunately will never happen in our lifetime, as long as there are those low individuals who rather spread hate. We will never experience true peace as long as twisted minds continue to teach that same hate to their young.

Its the nature of the beast call human. We that were placed above all animals by God, show no respect for life. Animals in the wild kill to survive we kill for no other reason than a difference in skin color, or wearing the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood.

We take two steps forward and five steps back, we have a Black man in the White House and nothing has really changed and nothing will change. As long as there are two humans left on this planet even then we will find something to hate about one another.

A man who won't die for something is not fit to live. Martin Luther King, Jr.



Stevie Wonder

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Comments 8 comments

pmccray profile image

pmccray 4 years ago from Utah Author

Thanks mom for taking the time to read my work. Yes we still have far to go. It seems to be a never ending battle.


mama 4 years ago

Daughter, I love your analysis as well as those of others. We do still have a very long way to go. There is still an extreme amount of unadulterated hate yet in this country that sometimes it feels like we are in regression.

I thoroughly appreciate all the well-thought-out comments here on this subject.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah Author

Sir Micky Dee: thank you for your comment and read. Yes...the struggle is still not over, and it is a struggle. When trying to change a generational mindset, it is an ever present mountain to climb. Thank you my friend


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

This hub is so true. At times and in some places things were worse after the end of slavery. Many people died in slave labor for trumped up charges. Many people were chained together in mines. They lived and slept chained together. The work and journey aren't over yet. Thank you ma'am for another great hub.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah Author

Thank you SOBF. I really appreciate your stopping in and reading along with you comments. I felt we need to unhomogenize what the struggle was about and is still about. Thank you again.


SOBF profile image

SOBF 6 years ago from New York, NY

A wonderful view of our experience and what MLK Jr. really meant to not only Blacks but society as a whole. Thank you pmccray.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah Author

RevLady - thank you so much for your comment. I feel that MLK was a heroic leader, who took on the biggest challenge without hesitation. I can't even imagine the fires of hell he walked through daily.

You're very correct, regarding the changes you mentioned. But I'm dishearted by the out and out disrespect for President Obama. As former President Carter stated during an interview, "most criticism and loutish behavior towards President Obama is out and out racism." Included in this statement "I'm from Georgia and I should know."

I'm further disgusted by the light attitude that was taken when uninvited guests to a Whitehouse function were caught. This violation was treated like no big deal. I feel that it was a blunder heard round the world that put the President and his family in a dangerous situation. No one seems to be the least bit concerned. Especially with the recent turn of events during the Christmas holiday with the lone terrorist. These three people should be prosecuted to the letter of the law as a show of zero tolerance. But even the President doesn't act as though think it's a big deal. Do you think during the Bush administration this would have attempted or tolerated? I think not. Again is a black life not worth the trouble?

I live in a red state with a primarily white population, to hear the hateful remarks about President Obama, usually made in earshot of me or my husband, ticks me off to no end. All in this nation have a right to their opinion, and we also have a right not to want to hear it, so keep it to yourself I really could careless.

Again we are being sterotyped...since we're black we must be in contact with the President or for some idiotic reason we need to know how they feel. When Bush was in office I never was approached or talked to about his politics. Nor did I walk up to every white person I saw and prattled on about his presidency. I'm at a stage in my life where I'm sick of being toleratant of peoples attitude towards my people, I ask the Lord daily for patience and just consider the source, but some times it's enough to make me lose my religion.

The type of aformentioned behavior is a mirror to me that we still have far to go, yes it is wonderful that children of color can truly aspire to become anything they desire, but it irks me that the color barriers are still in place even though the physical signs are gone. Still after all this time we still are tackling with the tired issue of racism.

Thank you again for your engaging comment and have a blessed day.


RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Thank you for this marvelous hub recognizing the dream quest of Dr. King.

In my mind, King was God's chosen for a specific task, in a specific time, to accomplish a specific purpose. What he was divinely called to do, I believe he did with all his soul and spirit.

The dream was not to be realized in his day, but it would change the course of the nation. Much of the freedom people of color in America experience today, resulted from the inspiration ignited by King and others involved in the civil rights movement.

I must disagree dear heart with your statement "we have a Black man in the Whitehouse and nothing has really changed and nothing will change."

Perhaps, nothing has changed in regards to world politics, but a lot has changed in terms of the motivation and self-esteem of young people of all colors but particularly minority youth. Many young people caught up in the despair of our times, have a new hope. A hope that says you can make it, even in times like these, if you try; you can be anything you imagine yourself to be, even president of the United States.

God bless you and yours!

Forever His,

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