History for 1963: The Dream, 50 years later

August 28 this year (now less than two weeks away), the 50th anniversary takes place of what is now widely held to be a signature American moment: Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC.

FIFTY? Really? My first reaction to all the 25, 30, 40, and now 50th anniversary of this stuff that has occurred in MY lifetime is a reminder to me of how “old” I am . But more importantly, I’ve been around for quite a bit of significant history, and like many of us in this “Boomer” generation, will begin to realize some of the important pieces of moving on in years (although, on this one, I was a bit young to be able to grasp at the time. It took me another 15 years when I was in college to start bestowing on it the significance that it was to have in the years ahead).

Aside from its significance as a key moment in bringing the attention of the country to the issues around Civil Rights in this country, and celebrated as a historic leap forward on many of our country’s checkered past in race relations, many are now asking about the “Dream” that MLK articulated. Where is it being fulfilled, and where is it being “dismantled” or challenged?

I expect that we will hear conversations about this increasingly over the next two weeks, until Wednesday the 28th of August, 2013. It is a worthy and necessary conversation. I want to say more, but I’m trying to stay on the level of memory and what democracy means to us. What reflections does this anniversary occasion for us?