Happy Birthday, Dr. King
He had a dream. Before my husband and I were even born, this dream included our family. Before my mother knew that her descendants would have brown skin, he dreamed for my children. His voice rang out so passionately about a day when “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood” – and in many cases, that table of brotherhood turned out to be the dining room table of a single family.
He existed in a time when hate separated every aspect of black and white life, and yet he had the faith to dream of a time when “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers” – leading us to a time when little black AND white boys and girls could be included in that walk.
He had the foresight to believe that “even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice” – and now, that freedom includes the ability to not only play chess or shoot dice with one another, but also the right for a black person and a white person to marry, have a family, make a life…without the fear of arrest or worse.
He hoped for a day when his four children would “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” – and now my husband and I are able to freely express the love we hold for the content of each other’s character, regardless of the color of our skin…and our five children are a little closer to what he’d hoped for his own.
Happy Birthday, Dr. King. We still have so far to go, but I hope you can see that we are carrying on your vision. Our children will always know the sacrifices you and your family made, including the ultimate of them, in order that they may exist, scratch that…flourish in a world that you helped create for them. We love you for that.
Your dream = Our reality