Has Martin Luther King’s dream come true?

When I helped draft that 1963 speech, none of us imagined an African American president. But US society is far from post-racial

The 1963 civil rights march on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr delivered his ‘I have a dream’ speech

In 1963, I had a contentious meeting with Robert Kennedy. In defending the civil rights achievements of his brother John and the Justice Department during his tenure as attorney general, RFK predicted that, “in 40 years”, a negro might be president of the United States. Those of us who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr never contemplated the possibility of a black president in our lifetimes. Kennedy turned out to be off by only five years.

In 2008, I travelled to France as the guest of SOS Racisme and the mayor of Paris. My invitation was part of the city’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights and commemoration of the legacy of Dr King, 40 years after his death. One question asked of me, again and again there, was: Does the election of Obama as president of the United States mean that Dr King’s dream has been fulfilled?

This is posed as a yes-or-no question, and I find that troubling. Because the situation is one of degrees. The problems of prejudice exist on a continuum. A better question might be: have we even come close?

see full story here http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jan/14/martin-luther-king-race?INTCMP=SRCH

View All