It was 57 years ago today, on August 28th, 1963, that Martin Luther King Jnr gave his “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial on the culmination of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
That is history, yet his inspirational words and his dream of equality, of racial justice, and message of hope endure. Martin Luther King was killed because he and those he spoke for lived a nightmare of injustice and inequality.
Black Lives mattered then and Matter now. If you question this, ask yourselves why the term “Afro-American” is prevalent when no-one uses the term “Euro-American” for those with European ancestry. And in the UK, why are Dianne Abbott, Lenny Henry, Clive Myrie, Benjamin Zephaniah and many, many others asked to go back to where they came from? They were all born in this land of hope and glory – “born of thee” – so are they not also free? Free from the fear of being stopped by police; free to walk the streets, as we who are white feel free?
Martin Luther King ended his speech with “Let freedom ring. And let us all join hands, and sing in the words of the old spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
We must seek to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, where no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. Listen to Benjamin Zephaniah and his re-imagining of Martin Luther King’s speech … https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08px03s