On anniversary of "dream" speech, how far have we come?
Wed, 28 Aug 2013 22:41:53 GMT —
On the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, many Americans still ask how far have we come toward achieving King's vision of a colorblind society?
Two local African-American leaders of different generations say much progress has been made, but more needs to be done.
Rev. Jerry Faulk of the Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church in Conway was 13 years old in the summer of 1963 and remembers being inspired by the march and King's speech.
"It was almost like a new day of jubilee, seeing so many people there, from all walks of life, all religions, ethnic backgrounds," said Faulk.
Faulk, who's long been involved in civil rights issues in Horry County, says if King were alive today, he would question how much progress has been made in race relations.
"I think he would see the country going back rather going forward."
Faulk says in the 60's you knew where people stood on race relations. Today, he says racism is more subtle.
Schools may be integrated and blacks no longer denied access to water fountains, but Faulk says there's still work to be done in accepting other people's cultures and ways of life.
"I think yes, we have made some progress, but have we made enough progress, for us to see ourselves as being one nation? I don't think so, I think we still got a lot of work to do in that area," Faulk said.
In late August of 1963, Michael Chestnut was less than a month old. Today, he's a restaurant owner and Myrtle Beach city councilman.
Chestnut says African Americans should be inspired by King, but should also look within themselves if they want change to happen.
"I don't believe in passing the buck. I believe in grabbing the bull by the horns and dealing with the problems and sometimes we don't want to face the reality that there are problems in the neighborhood that only we can solve," Chestnut said.
Chestnut says more people need to get involved in the political process, because that's where everything starts. He says he often asks himself, If I don't do it, who will?
"I think Dr. King opened the door for us. Now we've got to walk through the door and follow through."
Chestnut says in 50 years, America hasn't reached Dr. King's dream and another 50 years may not be enough, but we're headed in the right direction.