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From Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King Jr: Is The Dream Still Relevant?

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On September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln announced his intention to order the emancipation of all slaves in the states that did not end their rebellion by January 1, 1863.

So on January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the famous and historical presidential proclamation and executive order known as the Emancipation Proclamation and intended to free those slaves.

That alone did not free the slaves in areas still under rebellion. However, as more Confederate regions were controlled by the Union army, more slaves were emancipated with the help of the Proclamation.

Since Lincoln’s preliminary announcement and enactment of the Proclamation did not cover states that were not in rebellion nor under occupation by Union troops, it wasn’t until the ratification and adoption of the 13th Amendment in December 1865 that made slavery illegal throughout the United States.

Soon, there would be subjection to wage slavery, discrimination, segregation, lynching, and denial of democratic rights. So, it was obvious that the civil rights struggles persisted and would continue through further years.

On August 6, 1946, Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter to the editor of Atlanta’s largest newspaper, The Atlanta Constitution, stated that the decent treatment of “the Negro,” as he put it, was something that was often urged and was confronted with the “scarecrow of social mingling” by a certain class of people.

MLK went on to be a national political figure, using his “I have a dream” lines a number of times during his civil rights campaign. He used it so much in fact an adviser told him not to use those lines for the upcoming March on Washington on August 28, 1963.

“It’s trite, it’s cliché. You’ve used it too many times already,” said Wyatt Walker, a chief strategist for Dr. King.

The speech was then prepared, excluding the “I have a dream” lines. It was good, but not as powerful as many have heard him before. By MLK’s standards, it was going to be a fairly unremarkable speech.

So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who was previously moved by his “I have a dream” lines, shouted to him for the second time, “Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin!” After a long pause filled with applause, he decided to set aside his prepared speech and continued with the unplanned:

“So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.” And the part of the speech that was almost left out, became part of history.

Deserving of such admiration was also Joachim Prinz, the president of the American Jewish Congress. He was the speaker previous to Martin Luther King Jr. who spoke on his experience during Hitler’s time:

“A great people who had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent onlookers. They remained silent in the face of hate, in the face of brutality and in the face of mass murder” and with a message to America, he said that we must not become “a nation of onlookers. America must not remain silent.”

We might state that we have accomplished much and the “dream” might already be achieved with the election and re-election of an African-American president and similar success stories in a variety of fields. However, recent incidents, struggles and invigorated millennium movements such as #BlackLivesMatter might lead us to believe that we have more to achieve in order to accomplish the intention of such a dream.

While the #BlackLivesMatter encountered an #alllivesmatter movement, efforts have been made to clarify that it is not their intent to state that only their lives matter, but they argue that it is more than mere opinion that there seems to be a lack of care and fair treatment toward the lives of African-Americans.

Ironically, pro-life groups have made appeals claiming that “the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb,” and promote their agenda with a certain level of appeal.

Furthermore, a recently introduced bill in Missouri, titled “The All Lives Matter Act,” seems to line up with that reasoning, as well as Dr. Ben Carson, candidate for the Republican nomination for president, when he suggests that it should be changed to “all black lives matter.”

If all claims were verified in these cases, even within the particular political party inclinations, then the case for Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream could prove just as relevant today as it was back then.

There is an overwhelming understanding or impression that there is political, racial, and ideological hate — hate to which we must not remain silent, regardless of where we find ourselves in the political spectrum. We continue the lines of the “I have a dream” speech, regardless of how trite or cliché that might seem when we advance the reality of the dream.

Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


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44 comments
Bob Lee
Bob Lee

BERNIE SANDERS is the first candidate who ALWAYS fought for racial equality. He also fought for marriage equality. He is the PEOPLE'S CANDIDATE. That is why we support him.

Jim Krellwitz
Jim Krellwitz

If he was not assassinated you would have been president

Jason Ray
Jason Ray

It is a dream now thanks to Obama, the most divisive president we've ever had

James Magnotta
James Magnotta

None of this will matter when sharia law takes over.

Joe Hotham Nielsen
Joe Hotham Nielsen

Actually Stephen is correct...the civil war started over the very large income that the south was making. Slavery just became the excuse to get everyone on board as it question morality instead of money.

Joe Hotham Nielsen
Joe Hotham Nielsen

Lee, Obumma is the king of dichotomies... Blk vs Wte, pay scale vs pay scale, left vs right, religion vs religion, fat vs straight, anti gun vs pro gun, abortion vs anti abortion, liberal vs conserve, etc. Sure the pot has always been there, but he stirs it like Chef BoyRDee and gets the circus going, lol. At first, I found it a bit amusing to watch the rats in their frenzy. Then I moved into noticing the sad state of my fellow countrymen. Now, I just want to see it OVER with! As Americans in this current state of Obummas circus, we have shamed our forefathers, our ancestors who spent a life's saving to get here, our families and children's future. America is suffering from the open gashes of bad politics- just like the city of Detroit has. I'm 43 years old, born in the Nixon era and I'm sad to confess that on my watch, I've only witnessed ONE creditable president who stood by his word, did what he said he was going to do, had a plan that actually did work in the long run (Clinton had a nice cushion due to it- which Nafta killed), upheld the constitution in high reguards and had the Morales of God-Family-& Community...that president was Reagan.

Charles Sabatino
Charles Sabatino

Hey, Stephen Bumpkin, when you take a bullet in the head for your beliefs, maybe people will take you seriously, (doubtful) until then you are just another moron with a laughable opinion.

Jaime Casarin
Jaime Casarin

We, as a people , will get to the Promised Land!

Robert Weber
Robert Weber

Ben Hardin GOD BLESS YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE "SIR... "

Ben Hardin
Ben Hardin

Robert, I found what you say to be true throughout my military service (1964-1969).

Tammy Gregory Brown
Tammy Gregory Brown

No it isn't He opened up a new world of freedom for all and today hoods across America are damaging his works

Karen Kelley
Karen Kelley

You all seem to agree with Kathryn's point. Lee Phillippi agrees and thinks it is racist coming out of the woodwork. Jonathon Freeman agrees and blames rednecks. I disagree, the Dream IS still alive. The majority of Americans are Caucasian; President Obama wouldn't be president if we were all racists. He wouldn't be President if we had not moved so far ahead. We are still moving forward. Sometimes we fly, sometimes we crawl but we stil move forward.

Stephen Lumpkin
Stephen Lumpkin

Patrick Coyne are you serious? You actually believe the Civil War was about slavery? Unbelievable how stupid TV has made people in this Country.

Glenn Scott
Glenn Scott

Reality is the area where help is needed. We can't force a person to change their minds. But education of our children that your parents are wrong to be Racist! That You do not have to believe your parents on this issue. It has to stop somewhere. Are Home is a great place to end it!

Patrick Coyne
Patrick Coyne

Lincoln was such a tyrant that he help free millions of slaves

John C. Smith Jr.
John C. Smith Jr.

I fully agree. To remain silent is to be part of the problem rather than the solution, regardless of your particular ideology or political party.

Kathryn Goolsby
Kathryn Goolsby

It doesn't prove anything in your eyes. I love them just like all my other grand children.

Lee Phillippi
Lee Phillippi

So? Did I say that you're racist? Having black grandchildren doesn't prove anything, btw.

Lee Phillippi
Lee Phillippi

Joe Hotham Nielsen, Just because non-blacks helped doesn't mean that others aren't racist. Do you really think that the racists gave up when a black man was elected president? Their rage surged.

Brett Mize
Brett Mize

If MLK had survived, he may have been the first black president in the US. That would have been nice, a good man being president,

Brett Mize
Brett Mize

We have to fight. The dream isn't here, and we can't let it die. These words will one day ring true, the dream will be completed some day. We must not allow it to die

Frank Mc Abee
Frank Mc Abee

We need to be forever vigilante to expect that every citizen has an equal right to access the american dream and the responsibility to support the constitution of the United States.

Robert Weber
Robert Weber

EXACTLY.... Well said, thank you..... Americans are just that , REAL TRUE HEART, SOUL, MIND, SPIRIT AMERICANS........ The disconnect is the media, the three branches of government, over reach And the 1% ers who only profit in times of misdirection....

Charles Miller Hill
Charles Miller Hill

Jonathon Freeman Wow how liberal of you name calling as always. MLKS Cream did not include rioting. Black people killing cops and each other. Next time listen to the whole speech. And just because he is black would not mean MLK would approve. That is actually a racist statement.

Charles Miller Hill
Charles Miller Hill

Lee Phillippi Yea the racists like you who keep brining race into every argument.

Dave Conant
Dave Conant

There is a lot of media effort put into pushing the idea that the American people are split along racial, economic, religious or other lines but the reality is that on issues that concern them the people are amazingly united and the major issue is that the current political system is the root of the problem.

Joe Hotham Nielsen
Joe Hotham Nielsen

A very high percentage of non black helped put Obumma there Lee- try again. This generation pulls the race card on any difference of opinion.

Kathryn Goolsby
Kathryn Goolsby

LEE Phillippi I'm not a racist I have black grand children.

Jonathon Freeman
Jonathon Freeman

“And we all know everything That he stood for time will bring For in peace our hearts will sing Thanks to Martin Luther King Happy Birthday to you” Stevie Wonder

Jonathon Freeman
Jonathon Freeman

Another asinine comment from a ignorant redneck. MLK would have been proud that a black man was finally elected as President of the USA, TWICE.

Lee Phillippi
Lee Phillippi

The racists came out of the woodwork when they saw a black man in the White House.

Stephen Lumpkin
Stephen Lumpkin

Niether of these men sited here are heros. Lincoln was a tyrant & King was a commie sympathizer.

Jamie Keniston
Jamie Keniston

I think there will always be room for improvement. We have made great strides, but obviously there are some deep-seated socioeconomic and political issues that need to be addressed.

ashk
ashk

if there's anything that characterizes this election so far it's a 'nation of onlookers'