Living History -- The Dream 45 Years Later
In 1963 I was 12 years old. I didn't know then that I was living history.
That year I saw the Beatles in concert on their first world tour and fell in love with George. I was called to our principal's office at school one day in November to carry a note back to my teacher letting her know that she had to deliver the devastating news to our class that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.
And that summer of '63, my dad took us to a civil rights march in Detroit where we lived. As we marched down Woodward Avenue, my dad pointed out many leaders in the civil rights movement. One of those leaders was a young minister -- the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The march ended downtown and I remember everyone gathering to hear Dr. King speak. We kids were hungry and ready to go for Chinese food but Dad told us that Dr. King's words were important for us to hear. I remember how Dr. King spoke of having a dream -- a dream where we all would be free -- at last.
Shortly after that march in Detroit, Dr. King stood in front of thousands of people at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech and shared those same words I heard him speak in Detroit. Millions more heard Dr. King on television. Today is the 45th anniversary of that speech and it still has the power to move men and women to tears, especially as Barack Obama takes the podium this evening to accept his party's nomination as candidate for president of the United State of America.
Maybe, like me, this day -- both in 1963 and 2008 -- has overwhelming significance for you. Or maybe you're reading this and thinking that you don't plan to vote for Senator Obama. Maybe you don't really know much about Dr. King. Or maybe you aren't old enough to have lived through the fight for civil rights. And maybe you haven't experienced racial discrimination.
Well that's OK. Because if you have 12 minutes to watch this video of Dr. King's speech, you'll get a sense of why, as Americans, we're all living history today.