50 Years Ago He Had a Dream–Is It Becoming a Nightmare?

by Larry Peterson

Fifty years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now famous “I have a dream” speech in Washington D.C. A quarter of a million people stood and listened. Here are  a few excerpts:

“I have a dream that my four little children will 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.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.”

 “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”

So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Of course these are only several out of context remarks from that great speech. And it WAS a great speech. I dare say over the last fifty years we had come a long way in seeing Dr. King’s dream of  joined  hands between white and black people actually materialize. The Alabama mentioned in the speech is long gone.  Governor George Wallace and his famous “Segregation now, Segregation Forever” inaugaral speech from January, 1963 seems almost surreal. We had come a long way. Barack Obama is the President. We have had and have  black Supreme Court Justices. We have had a black man as Secretary of State and we have one as Attorney General.  At present there are 43 African-Americans serving as congressmen and women and two as United States Senators.

We had come a long way  and then, on February 26, 2012,  a 17-year-old by the name of  Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida by a neighborhood watch captain named George Zimmerman. From “we HAVE come a long way” changed to “we HAD come a long way”. The race baiters pounced. Time to fan the flames of intolerance and hatred and spit in the face of everything Martin Luther King stood for. Even our own President of the United States dipped  into the trough of animus and racism helping to divide a country that  before Trayvon’s death had actually come together more so than anytime in our history. It was far from perfect but it was so much better. How sad to see all of that progress cast to the wind.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King on this anniversary is a fine thing. But the people on the podium should not be using this man as camouflage for an agenda that flies in the face of everything he stood for. This can be a time to bring people together, to tamp out the flames of hatred, and to honor the progress we have made in race relations. There will  always be the narrow minded, black and white, who harbor mindless and insensible prejudice based on skin color. It is not a perfect world.  In his honor it is time to heal and spread the words once more of Martin Luther King, ““Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” His dream should not turn into a nightmare.


Time to UNTEACH Racism–Our Children deserve It

by Larry Peterson

When the verdict was read at the Zimmerman trial the words, “not guilty”, reverberated across the entire country. Following  those words a dark and ominous cloud of racial pollution drifted out of that courtroom in Sanford, FL and managed to blanket the entire nation.

Why? The American system of justice had worked, had it not? An impartial jury had weighed all of the evidence and, following the law as instructed by the court, rendered a fair and impartial verdict. Whatever is going on? Isn’t that what we wanted? Why all the vitriol? Why all the hatred? Here’s why–politics.  Politics has become anathema to the very fabric of our  nation because, for those in  power, their politics trumps God, family and country.

I truly believe that the vast majority of the American people, white, black, brown, red, yellow or whomever, are NOT racists.  The true racists are the ones who foment anarchy using race as the bait. You all know who I mean so no sense going into a litany of names. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, remember? These people are making a mockery of his legacy and turning his “dream” into a nightmare.

See this picture above? The caption is TRUE. Want proof, read on.

The day after the “not guilty” verdict in Sanford, the 49 year-old manager of a Family Dollar store in Tampa was shot to death during a robbery. Horsley Shorter Jr., a 26-year Army veteran, was coming to the aid of the clerk who was being held up.  The clerk he was defending was white. The perpetrator of the crime was a black man. So was Horsley Shorter.

Mr. Horsley cared about helping his fellow man, not the man’s skin color. He gave his life so this man might live. I have not heard anything about Horsley Shorter Jr. on any TV or radio programs. Why not? Horsley Shorter is an unsung American hero.  But I guess his story provides no political advantage to anyone? Isn’t that a sad thing?

The picture above demonstrates the innocence of children. They do not care about skin color. They just care about each other. Racism enters their lives when mature, narrow-minded people, uneducated and educated alike, teach them to “HATE“. It is disgusting and the people who are promulgating and playing this “race card” have perverted the enormous gains that have been made between whites and blacks over the last century.

From the bully-pulpit commanded by the President, to the Attorney General, to the former Secretary of State and U.S.Senator, to the Sharptons, and Jacksons and Hollywood know-nothing elitists; it is time for all of you to start preaching brotherhood. Our children deserve that. All of us do.

                      ©Larry Peterson  2013 All Rights Reserved