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.
–Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963
This weekend is the 48th anniversary of Dr. King’s historic speech at the Lincoln Memorial. This speech is a lasting reminder to the leadership that this man offered to help our nation move toward its stated vision of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people. A statue memorializing Dr. King was to be unveiled in Washington, DC this weekend, but has been postponed due to the inclement weather expected from Hurricane Irene.
Dr. King is my all-time hero. He was a man of deep faith who was eloquently able to speak truth to power and, through love, envision a new way of living for our country.
The legacy of slavery and racial discrimination still lingers with us today despite many great strides that our society has made. Housing is an area that has had its share of issues around race. It is most evident in the chicken/egg scenario of the need for wealth accumulation in order to become a homeowner that then propels further wealth accumulation. In an earlier entry on this blog, I shared that the disparity in wealth between white and black Americans was trending negatively. A Pew Research Center showed that:
The median wealth of white households is 20 times greater than that of black households…These ratios are the largest in the quarter century since the government first published such data.
Much of this disparity is due to disparate homeownership rates and the longevity of homeownership.
My own children, who are of mixed racial background and have dark skin, will tell you that they feel that others draw negative conclusions about them based on their skin color. They have exponentially more opportunity than they would have had in 1963, but 48 years later there is still much, much more to do.
This weekend, I’m hoping that we look back and remember the man who provided such timely and vital leadership to a movement whose time had come, but additionally we continue to commit our nation to realizing the dream so eloquently stated in our country’s founding documents and again on that day in 1963.
Text and audio of the I Have a Dream speech is available at: