Quote of the week

What mattered about the President’s speech on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s speech:

The fact is that the man who stood where King stood at the Lincoln Memorial today as the chief executive of the United States of America is one who would have had to have stood with King if too many white people wanted seats on the bus. He would have had to drink with King from water fountains that said “colored,” or sat in balconies instead of on the main floor of the theater, or eaten at the back door of the restaurant because no one would seat him, or walked with King past hotel after hotel until he finally came to one that would allow him to stay.

But he does not have to do any of these things. People stand when he enters. Traffic stops when he passes. The powerful call him, “Sir,” and address him not just as “Mister,” but “Mister President.” Martin Luther King Jr., had he not been slain just five years after this speech, would be 84 today and very possibly alive to see this.

And although he might have had to pinch himself to see if he was still dreaming, he would have found — I hope to his great pleasure and satisfaction — that he was not.

Of course, it’s not 1963 anymore, as some people need reminding now and then. The greatest legacy of Dr. King may be that we’ll never have to see 1963 again.


  1. jsallison »

    30 August 2013 · 8:18 pm

    And yet Big Al and JJ Jr poverty pimping race hustlers, the both of them, are still getting paydays convincing the weak-minded, aka those who voted for the Big O, that it’s Still 1963, time and relativity notwithstanding.

  2. McGehee »

    31 August 2013 · 6:21 am

    Except that those of us attempting to judge Obama on the content of his character keep getting trashed by those who defend him solely on the color of his skin. So no, if the Dr. King who gave that speech still lived and history had otherwise followed its present course, I don’t think he’d be all that happy about it.

  3. Brett »

    2 September 2013 · 9:17 pm

    McGehee, I imagine that aspect of our modern political scene might indeed dishearten him (it does me, too, and so many others). But my conversations with African-American folks about 65 and up suggested to me that many of those who dislike that part or something else about his policies say they sometimes just stop and wonder at the fact that an African-American IS the president. I may be reading too much into that, but that’s what I figured King might have been doing were he here and able to reflect on it.

    And thanks, as always, for the post, Charles.

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