Yesterday, the nation observed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—not so much a celebration as it is a national day of recognition of what Dr. King managed to accomplish during the civil rights movement before his life was so tragically cut short 50 years ago.
His iconic moment in history came five years earlier as he stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke to thousands on the mall in Washington D.C. It became known as the “I Have a Dream” speech. It took only 17 minutes from his opening: “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”
Until the closing line: "Free at last, free at last; great God a-mighty, we are free at last."
In the powerful moments in between, Dr. King outlined his dream.
“I say to you today, my friends, though, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the son of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
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 ... I have a dream that one day 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.”
That was in 1963. For many—some 55 years later—the dream still exists only as a dream. We have the ability to change that and public education is a powerful key.
Your support of the Danville Schools Education Foundation affords us an opportunity to provide educational and enrichment opportunities for all students in an environment that sees federal and state dollars on per pupil spending shrinking with each passing budget year. In fact, in the past 10 years, per pupil spending when adjusted for inflation is down 16 percent according to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. Your gifts to the foundation can help close that gap.
Call or drop me a note, and I can explain how your contributions can help those who still hold fast to the dream.
As always, go Ads!
This article originally appeared in the January 22, 2019 edition of The Advocate-Messenger.