I had a dream

March 17, 2021 – 11:50 pm



Medardo Arias Satizábal

This April 4 will mark the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, the man who carried out one of the most important peaceful revolutions of modern times: the fight for Civil Rights in the United States of America. .

“Why we can’t wait”, why we should not wait, said in one of his most celebrated texts the Baptist pastor who in less than 20 years, between 1954 and 1965 changed the customs and way of life of his country, to starting from an ideological battle that brought the concept of race to the fore.
His life and work made it possible for the people to vote overwhelmingly for the election of an African-American president in 2009 for the first time in the history of the United States.

In 1954 the young preacher, the son of a famous Baptist pastor, was finally able to head a church in Montgomery, Alabama, in the heart of the South another day in slavery. Even in the 1950s, African Americans could not freely enter restaurants, park their vehicles anywhere, or consult libraries. Nor could they rest in the roadside motels, when they decided to make long trips, alone or with the family, or occupy positions on the buses.

Inspired by the leader of peace, Mahatma Gandhi, and by Thoreau, the theorist of the so-called Civil Disobedience, Luther King made the firm decision to change the political customs of the United States, from resistance and non-violence. In Montgomery, he spearheaded a boycott of municipal bus service, which lasted 1 year. King, well remembered the example of his teacher, Gandhi, when the English colonists withheld basic foods, including salt, and the saint marched to the sea, with all his people behind, to search for it.

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To start his fight for Civil Rights, King was present from the Southern Leadership Conference, and then from the Racial Equality Congress. He also led the Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta; He studied Theology at Boston University.

Martin Luther King’s name appeared in all the newspapers in 1960 when he was imprisoned in Birmingham, Alabama, after leading a revolt of young college students who decided to sit on the avenues. This protest allowed them to have access to libraries, parking lots and dining rooms. John Fizgerald Kennedy, then on the campaign trail, got him out of jail.

Many milestones filled his life, such as the discussion with other African-American leaders, including Carmichael and Malcom X. While King recommended peaceful protest and advocated non-aggression to his white brothers, Malcom said that power was “in the barrel of a gun…”. However, the reverend’s climactic moment occurred on August 28, 1963 in Washington DC, when, facing the Potomac and the Obelisk, then bordered by thousands of men of color, he pronounced his famous prayer recognized today as “I still have a dream ”, in which he imagined a country of brothers, a nation where the children of the Ohio peasants could sit at the table with the young blacks of New York’s Harlem. From that memorable speech we can extract some famous phrases: “The black man lives on a lonely island, in the middle of an immense ocean of material prosperity (as happens today in Buenaventura); the Negro still languishes in the corners of the cities, and finds himself exiled in his own land; we will not stop until justice runs like water and virtues like a strong ravine; let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York; let freedom ring from the heights of the Alleghenies in Pennsylvania… ”.

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His legacy remains intact among the new generations. His voice and thought remained forever in the memory and history of the United States of America.
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