This day has been of great significance to me since I first studied Dr. King's achievements, as a freshman in college. He is one of my heroes. Each year at this time I pull out his famous speeches and read them. Here is a link to his "I have a dream" speech, with video:
It is a time for me, as a White man, to reflect on the importance of slavery in the building of America and the horrible toll it took on the Black population. That toll is still echoing today. I am ashamed to say that my family, generations back, owned a plantation in the South and capitalized on that slavery.
I am also the father of two African-American children.
I and my family are living King's dream of working toward a nation united in brotherhood, celebrating our cultural and racial origins while ending discrimination in all its forms. As King said in that speech: "I have a dream that one day . . . the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood." King's dream is not the reason we are an integrated family, but now we literally sit down at the same table together, every night.
It is MY dream that my children will grow to be as proud of their African-American heritage as I am and yet feel comfortable in a White-dominated culture. Our family is also integrated with other African-American and Latino members, so instilling that pride in our children should be easier than it might be for other families. Let us hope it is contagious, throughout our society and the world.
Thank you, Dr. King.