Today, on this 50th anniversary of the fabled March on Washington, many people will pose on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, calling attention to their long-held desire for equality and brotherhood. On this anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, one of the great orations of history, there will be many who nod in assent, as if they did the same a half century ago, able to grasp King’s wisdom as a child. There will be people who heard King’s words then and silently feared upheaval and conflict, and today forget their reluctance and cleanse the guilt from their memory.
I hope there will be much more honest reverence for a pivotal moment in our history, when as a nation we took a collective turn for the better. It was certainly not the day racism was erased, but perhaps it was the day bigotry ceased to be acceptable, and we the privileged began to sense our shame.