Friday, September 26, 2008

Dreams do come true...

In the 1960's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these words "I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

Almost 50 years later I live in an Alabama where little girls and boys of all skin tones do live and play and go to church and school together as brothers and sisters. It's easy to take the progress we've made for granted, so I wanted to make a few comments on my blog today.

I work at an elementary school that is racially diverse. This past week one of the teachers read a book about Rosa Parks to her third graders. She had to stop frequently to discuss the issues raised in the book because these children have no concept of segregation. They were all appalled and confused. So finally the teacher said, "Back in those days the white and the black people did everything separately. They went to different schools and different churches and used different entrances and different water fountains. In fact, black and white children couldn't even play together. So (she point out two boys in the class) couldn't have been friends back then." The little African American boy looked down at his arm and said, "I'm black? I thought I was brown." He hadn't even realized that what we were talking about involved him! And it was in that moment that I knew. We've come a long way. Not that we don't still have a ways to go - but I think Dr. King would be proud of us.


Jennie said...

Excellent blog, Betsy. There may be a few lingering bits of racism hanging around, but for the most part, I think it's a thing of the past. And that's a good thing.

Jessica said...

For some reason I've always had a thing for Martin Luther King Jr. I don't know what it is about him, but he had an optimistic and hopeful point of view when there were people of his own race being abused, killed, and tormented. I admire his strength and outlook. I wrote a whole paper on him just for fun and I even had the "Our Friend Martin" movie.
I am so glad that our country has made it thus far. We may have little mishaps at times, but I love all of the friends I have from around the world. Skin color has never been an issue to me and I'm grateful I was able to go through elementary and high school with people of diverse backgrounds. It's impossible to even imagine being segregated now.