January 19, 2009

Has MLK's vision been fulfilled?

Posted: 09:16 AM ET

In celebration of MLK Day, we'll be talking to Martin Luther King III, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Ralph Abernathy on the show tonight.

More than two-thirds of African-Americans believe Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision for race relations has been fulfilled, a CNN poll found - a figure up sharply from a survey in early 2008.

The CNN-Opinion Research Corp. survey was released Monday, a federal holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader and a day before Barack Obama is to be sworn in as the first black U.S. president.

The poll found 69 percent of blacks said King's vision has been fulfilled in the more than 45 years since his 1963 "I have a dream" speech - roughly double the 34 percent who agreed with that assessment in a similar poll taken last March.

(Read the rest of the article HERE)

Filed under: Inauguration • Larry King Live

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Michael C. McHugh   January 19th, 2009 9:39 am ET

In my lifetime, I have seen many improvements, no doubt about it. When I was young, racism was blatant among most white people, and not just t racism against blacks. I mean, people just expressed their it openly, whereas now it's more covert and concealed.

Segregation was still legal when I was young, and in many places blacks and other minorities were not allowed to vote. Forget about running for office, there were very few blacks elected to anything back then, and very few would be found in the professions. It was against the law for blacks to marry whites in many places, and against custom virtually everywhere. People used to get killed for that, although I'm not sure younger people today could even believe it.

In the 1960s, the most important reforms were the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and they have made a big difference. They were not just granted. They had to be fought for, but that's true of all progress in history.

All that said, I know that racism still exists in this country, and only the village idiot would think otherwise. Politicians still make rightwing populist appeals based on racism, even if it's more subtle than in the past. There is still de facto segregation and discrimination in jobs, housing and education, and minorities do have higher rates of poverty and unemployment that whites. This has been true throughout American history, for as long as redords have been kept.

My hope is that Obama will offer a better deal to the poor of all races in this country, to the people who have been excluded and marginalized by the system. There is only one movement for reform in a generation in America, and then after 8 or 10 years, things go back to conservatism and business as usual. I am 47 years old, and I realize that this will be the only chance in my lifetime to reform America. We don't dare waste this opportunity.

Jennifer Deitz   January 19th, 2009 10:59 am ET

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 will mark a milestone in our history as a nation. An African American will be sworn in as President of the United States. Regardless of political affiliation or race, how can anyone not be moved by this feat? This man will walk up the steps of the Capitol, the very ones that were largely built by slaves and raise his left hand while his other rests on the Bible that was once used by the very man who was responsible for abolishing slavery, Abraham Lincoln. And as if that wasn't going to be monumental enough, he will also be looking out onto the National Mall where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic 'I Have A Dream' speech in 1963.

Over the weeks since Barack Obama was named the President-Elect, I have often found myself thinking how powerful it would be to be able to go back in time to those days of slavery. To look upon the faces of those whose God-given right of freedom was refused simply because of the color of his or her skin and assure them that things were going to change with each generation, that one day in the not-so-far future, this country would rally around a "black man" with unprecedented enthusiasm. I can only imagine their disbelief at such a notion. To tell someone who was referred to as "property" during a time when it was considered a crime for a black person to learn to read, that one day this country would be led by a black man. To see their faces fill with pride that their suffering would not be endured for naught, that one day things would be different, that one of their own would rise to the highest office in the land. To see their eyes fill with hope that this country would one day live up to its original creed of freedom for all. To tell them that long after the day in 1865 when slavery would at long last be abolished, the cries for equality would not be silenced until every child would be granted the possibility of a future in which they could live up to his or her God-given potential.

To visit the shameful days of segregation and announce that one day a black man would be addressed with the greatest of respect, and that he would be allowed in places that only a select few were ever even given the opportunity to see. And then to move forward in time to the days of the civil rights movment. To tell the thousands of people who risked their very lives while attempting to bring about change that their voices would be heard. To whisper in the ear of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he spoke those immortal words, that yes, within his children's lifetime, his dream would not only be realized, but it would be executed to the fullest extent possible, they would see a black man become their President.

We have come such a long way, but it is important to realize that there is still so much work to be done. There are still people whose eyes are clouded with the sins of prejudice and racism and bigotry. We must continue to stand up and fight for what we know is right, for what was promised by our Maker, for what was the foundation on which this great country was built. We must make sure that freedom and equality does ring out from every corner, without exception. We must continue to have a dream and keep building on that dream until every man, woman, and child can no longer fathom why it was ever necessary to put into words something that should have been understood and accepted without question or hesitation. As we celebrate on inauguration day we must not forget to not only reflect on where we've come from, but also to look forward to where we must go as a nation. If we want the world to look to us as the beacon of hope and opportunity, we must start here at home. We must come together to form a more perfect union, the union that America was orignally founded to be. A nation of people, just people, with no regard to race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

We were each born into this world innocent and trusting and loving and we must fight against the corruption we have allowed to tear us apart. Every life is precious and important. Each soul has an impact on this world. Every slave whose back-breaking work helped build this country, every Native American who was unjustly forced to leave their home, every person who raised his or her voice in the face of opposition, their stories are the stories of this country. Many of their names will never be known or recognized, but their lives and sorrows and sacrifices will forever echo in the hopes of us all. The hope for a better tomorrow. The hope that no matter what the question we can each raise our voice and answer with the greatest of convictions, "Yes we can." The hope that one day we will all be able to realize the final dream in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech and join hands with one another and sing "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last," in celebration at having found the complete freedom that only true and absolute unity can bring about

Val   January 19th, 2009 11:09 am ET

I wouldn't say that MLK's dream has been fulfilled, but that it is the beginning of righting those wrongs in which were done years ago. We still have a lot of racial unjustice in America, wich can be viewed daily on every news cast. Mainly racial profiling of African Americans, as well as Latino's. We just witnessed three police shootings in which white police officers shot and in some cases killed innocent unarmed black men. This is an area that must and should be addressed by this administration if we are to move in the direction and see ourselves as one as the President wants.

I will say however that this is a time for all people to embrace the dream in which Dr. King invisioned and search deep within our hearts to find that better person not just within ourselves, but in others as well. Then and only then will we all be able to see that yes there is more that unites us than divides us.

Mike, Zephyrhills, FL   January 19th, 2009 12:57 pm ET

Dr King would of been appalled how americans are being treated by the men in washington.

Remember is was an advocate for the poor and hungry first and then for civil rights..

We keep putting everything to the top and expect it to get to the bottom, it doesnt work and Obama's plan for banks and tax cuts for the rich will not help the poor. How does a man get ahead today with Corporate America and Wall Street still pulling the strings.

Let Obama fullfill Dr Kings dream of all americans getting ahead and on a fair playing field. Love they neighbor !! it is not there yet!!

Obama has many people to payback and was raised by white people, and is half white, No i wouldnt say the dream has been fullfilled!!

For our Country I hope he does as he says, not as the others want him to do, To do the right thing sometimes is not the right thing in some peoples eyes.

I shall pray for him!! to be guided like Dr King was and to make a better world for all of us!!

fred   January 19th, 2009 1:05 pm ET

The American Dream
I Write today as an African American to celebrate and witness history being made. The Inauguration of Barack Obama as the Country’s 44th President. I look back in time 45 years ago when Martin Lutheran King, Jr. did his famous speech in Washington D.C. “I have a Dream”. that speech shined a bright light clear across America. Yes indeed history was made on this day.
Now the dream lives on today. It’s been a dream of mines since
I’ve been a little boy that one day a African American would have
The opportunity to be elected President of the United States of America. My Dream has come true that this Nation has restored it’s
Dignity and lift up the souls of Our Forefathers in sprit and fore fill
This destiny in time a mission that’s been deeply planted in the
American Dream, We shall over come. THANK GOD ALMIGHTY….
Pop culture did test the waters, but it was the civil rights era that changed America.
black people no longer wanted to be second class citizens at a time when there was Jim crow laws that prohibit blacks from drinking from the same water fountains and sharing the same restrooms. History has opened America eyes for a black President. Justice has now been applied. Yes indeed the dream lives on.

To Martin…

Lord make me a instrument of thy peace. Where there is hate,
May I bring love; Where there is offense may I bring Union in a
Place of discord; Truth replace error; Faith where once was Doubt;
Hope for Despair; light where once was Darkness; Joy to replace
Sadness. Make Me not to so crave to be loved, as to Love. help
Me to learn that in giving I may receive; In forgetting Self I may
Find Life Eternal.

Therefore; Martin Luther King, Jr. Stood for peace! And (HE)
Gave His Life trying to bring Union of Peace to this Nation,
Where there is much hatred! In his attempt His life was cut
Short. I pray for those whom took Offense.
May we find Pardon and forgiveness. Yes! Lord, I do have Faith
That truth will replace Error some day; Therefore (Martin) forgot
( self) to find peace in a Nation whom crave to be Loved, as to
Love… GOD BLESS YOU, Martin and may you have Eternal
Peace, forever!!! Amen….

Mike, Zephyrhills, FL   January 19th, 2009 1:08 pm ET

Colin Powell could of easily won any race he was in and people today will not endorse a woman 100% for President. Obama has charisma,, it is needed to win, and great promises doesnt mean anything until brought to reality.

Obama , right place , right time, people hated Bush's and Republicans and McCain was sure no real threat and that Palin brought even more disrespect for McCain.

Buts that politics 101,

Obama won and now we are already seeing his actions differ from his words.!!

Tax cuts for rich and Bank buy backs and rewards for the guys who caused the whole thing , including Clinton who signed the law allowing wall street to do this scam anyway. And now Obama has 95 % Clinton people, that should bother all of us!! Its not the same time as when we had good years during Clinton, it was this scam in it highest and beginnings. Follow the money people!!

Erik S.   January 19th, 2009 3:01 pm ET

I see all these people who praise Obama as some prophet or Messiah. Dr. King would be appaled, and say to those who seem to worship Obama, there is only one Messiah, Christ, the Son of God. Obama has been surrounded with controversy and lies, and corruption. He will not bring change or hope, he will bring ruin and fear. Obama's promises are false and hollow, people who follow Obama will lose their way from the true light of Christ. That is what I think the good and noble Dr. King would say.

Martha (Dunwwody, GA)   January 19th, 2009 4:44 pm ET

Not yet. The check has been deposited; however, we cannot fully withdraw cash yet. I think Dr. King would be a little disappointed in the way some people have stopped their dreams with the election of Obama. We need to continue to move forward and work together as Obama is asking. We cannot put all our hopes and dreams in Obama Don't get me wrong I am a storng Obama supporter and more than excited to have him as my president; however, he's human and cannot create miracles. WE ALL NEED to continue to push forward, work together and help our newly elected President. I think we should continue to pray because through and with GOD all things are possible.

hugh ~ california   January 19th, 2009 6:21 pm ET

If you practiced the "Golden Rule" I wouldn't have to read your devisive comments and finger pointing. Let's celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and leave out the negativity.

Kelli from Tampa   January 19th, 2009 7:38 pm ET

Hey there Hugh as usual I agree with you!

hugh ~ california   January 19th, 2009 8:03 pm ET

Hey Kelli! I guess we're both on the same page. I can't ever remember disagreeing with any thing you've written. I see you were quoted the other night on Larry King Live! You're obviously saying things worth repeating!

Kelli from Tampa   January 19th, 2009 9:06 pm ET

Was I? Yippie!

Gale Marie Satchell   January 19th, 2009 9:09 pm ET

Dr. King's dream has not come true. It hasn't come true because the question is still being asked. Until that question dosen't need to be asked we still have work to do.

eli in Indy   January 19th, 2009 9:23 pm ET

while i agree that a black man being elected President of the United States is a great achievement for our country and our history i wonder if it is truly a representation of Dr. Kings dream. while it is no doubt a a celebration of how far our country has come in the fight against social inequity, i think Dr. King would be happier to know we elected a man to office who was the right man at the right time without regard to his race. when i watch/listen to him speak i dont see a black man. i see a smart, strong, confident leader and that is what i voted for. maybe i'm just a dumb, young, white kid, but i think there is too much focus on his color from the media. as i said, it is truly an historic event for this country and should be regarded as no less, but on jan. 21, can we stop bringing up the fact that our president is black and just support him as a man of this earth who is the same as every other man on this earth?

Layla   January 19th, 2009 9:32 pm ET

I think there has been much progress, but there is still a ways to go! I saw plenty of Black men on your show, but where were the Black women??? We have opinions as well!

Ginny Commins   January 19th, 2009 9:39 pm ET

MLK,jr's dream has not been realized with the election of Barak Obama. I believe his dream was that all people will be equal, in all respects. We're a far way from that, unfortuately. President-elect Obama is an exceptional human being who just happens to be black.

Tamara   January 19th, 2009 9:55 pm ET

I think we've made some headway, but I think there are still challenges to overcome – poverty, inequality, racism. Many of the negative comments I've seen since Obama started his campaign have been very distressing (but, unfortunately, not surprising). If you've ever lived in the Southeast, you probably have a little bit of an idea how far there is still to go. I once worked for a small, family-owned company in Memphis, and was fired for letting the FedEx delivery lady use the women's restroom – she was black! To this day, I think of that city as the city where MLK was murdered. Things haven't changed enough, but hopefully we're all on our way! Even those who will continue to drag their feet.

Perils To Perils   January 19th, 2009 10:16 pm ET

This is not intended to be posted. I just watched your show on If The Dream Has Been Realized. A thought ran through my mind. As the President Elect & his wife are dancing the first dance together how awesome it would be to have a halogram of Dr. King & Coretta dancing together!!! What a wonderful way for the realization of all of their sacrifice to be shared. Again Please do not post.

Owen   January 19th, 2009 10:17 pm ET

I'm a black man from Chicago in Dallas, Texas. On a daily basis I see, first-hand, the contrast in white American viewpoints. I am a civil servant. I can say without a doubt that at least theTexans that I work with every day don't care for President Obama or give a dang about Dr. King.

I will say this about Dr. Kings dream. As a people if you cannot empathize, relate, or understand either Dr. King or President elect Obama the dream has not been realized. These are very American men with very American stories. They believe in hard work, morals, ethics, and only want the opportunity for all Americans to participate and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Dr. King was struck down in an act of domestic terror and President Obama is threatened daily in the same manner.

Ignorance will see its own undoing. Many Americans have looked past color to see a President Obama's vision of peace, service, and prosperity. Dr. King's dream was that we see each other as we see ourselves. That dream is still yet to come but we're closer to it than ever before.

Harriet   January 19th, 2009 10:25 pm ET

a step towards the right direction.

hugh ~ california   January 19th, 2009 10:31 pm ET

@Kelli from Tampa:
Yes, you were quoted last Friday night about flight #1549.
January 15th, 2009 8:46 pm ET

"I love to travel too much not to fly. However, if our economy gets worse and airlines start laying off mechanics, I might reconsider."

Enjoy Obama's swearing in–I can't wait!

Bonita Gloster   January 19th, 2009 10:50 pm ET

I feel Dr. MLK's dream has for a large part been fulfilled, merely because we are about to have an African American president of the United States of America. On the other hand, I feel racism and how many are treated, because of the color of their skin, will be around for some time to come.

I reside in a city/suburb which is slightly over 5 percent African American and my children's school is also just slightly over 5 percent African American. On the day after this blessed history making event I must go stand in front of a panel at the Unified School District's Board of Education and fight to remove a demoralizing and oppressing book from the school's curriculum which blatantly and excessively says the "N-word". The teacher has been reading this book for the past 10 years and feels this is her way of teaching against racism. This I feel is an insult to the black race and also the human race and was not part of Dr. King’s dream. If you are teaching against racism do so without the negative undertones of the "N-word".

I only pray my comments to the Board of Education will take note to the fact we are in a new day and age and that history has created, hopefully, a wonderful change.

dford   January 19th, 2009 11:22 pm ET

Hi Larry
martin luther king is crying and singing in spirit how long have we waited for this moment not only for blacks should we forget it was a lot of different colors that wont this but was afraid but now they have a open choice . That moment we wont to see in america is hopes and dreams for everyone.Time is very short and life passes us by so quickley,so let us rise and rise and stop being so bitter and share what we know to get us ahead.mistakes are made but we are not perfect who on this earth is perfect.

mrs dford

Racial Victim   January 20th, 2009 12:32 am ET

Segregation is still alive.

I have a letter from my son's public school in Delaware telling him he is not allowed to go to his classes if a substitute is in the room and he is only allowed to use the nurse's restroom.

This is his punishment for reporting being bullied and threatened on a daily basis by african american kids. Because we are white, no one thinks his right to an equal education can be violated.

Ben Costa   January 20th, 2009 12:37 am ET

The Presidential Inauguration Committee showed a lack of character.

Gay Bishop Gene Robinson’s prayer at the beginning of the Sunday pre-inauguration celebration was left out of the HBO concert coverage. This was not the fault of HBO, they followed the instructions of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, which has admitted that it was their error (they scheduled the prayer before the start time of the broadcast) and they expressed regret.

It is hard to believe that this was an error, rather than an “error” (in quotes). It is pretty clear that when the PIC realized that they would be kicking off their pre-Inauguration with a prayer by a gay bishop, they became concerned that that much inclusion in their “We Are One” celebration might be a political liability.

Does the Presidential Inauguration Committee and/or Barrack Obama intend to do anything about the slight besides “regretting” the error?

As far as I can tell, there were a very large number of gay people who donated more than their share of hard-earned money, and who worked many more than their fair share of hours on the phones, in the streets, and elsewhere, and in other ways to help get Barrack elected.
During the campaign many Evangelicals, if not Warren himself, did their best in email campaigns and blogs to paint Obama as a “baby killer” and they did all they could to keep him from being elected. Yet Warren, who works actively against gay civil rights, and the Evangelicals are being honored by having their prayer heard by the world.

I understand the concept of trying to include and consolidate one’s opposition into one’s support, but to insult a group of generous and ardent supporters because the time has come when they might be viewed by some as a political liability, is a slap in the face which says that gays are not worthy of recognition and should be kept in a “closet”. It also shows a lack of character and courage on the part of the PIC and Barack Obama.

katieh   January 20th, 2009 12:44 am ET

Martin Luther King Jr. was filled with a Spirit to transform the human heart. He was a visionary and a courageous frontiersman. If he were alive today, I believe he would have us dreaming a new vision, a global vision, an even bolder vision that reaches deeper than skin color and even character but into our most firmly held beliefs, ideologies and theologies. I think that Martin Luther King Jr., a great lover of Jesus, would have us reaching to extend our hands and opening our hearts – to listen more deeply to our brothers and sisters of all faiths, in all parts of the world, in order to alleviate human suffering. He would not rest, even with the great accomplishments of this day.

Miguel Moreno   January 20th, 2009 12:50 am ET

I believe that Obama's win will help the world unite.

SUSAN   January 20th, 2009 12:58 am ET

I am extremely hopful. Even if he is not istantly successful, i am hopeful that we finally have someone articulate that will tell us the truth. it's just plain inspiring - and, hopefully - he will inspire us individually to help him.

Joan   January 20th, 2009 1:02 am ET

Let us all remember that Obama's mother is WHITE; therefore he is biracial. HE IS NOT THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERCIAN OR BLACK MAN TO BE PRESIDENT. HE IS THE FIRST BIRACIAL PRESIDENT.



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