- Posted August 27, 2013 by
MCKEES ROCKS, Pennsylvania
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
50 Years After MLK Speech
I was twelve and of course watched MLK on the Huntley Brinkley NBC news sometime that week. I liked the news .I had always been encouraged to watch it on the black a white 25 inch console in the living room. Who is this negro man , I said not racially aware at all. I grew up without a negro in my grade school. A few were in the high school but not in my classes. President Kennedy said MLK was important and that meant he was important . I was enthralled at this handsome leader, our President Kennedy, who spoke so eloquently on any subject. So my Dad said he is a good man who wants what Lincoln freed the slaves for, equality for all or something close to that. My Dad was a supervisor in a steel mill , had some black employees under him and said they were just people who had a hard time in the country. A lot of people were afraid and didn’t want blacks to go to schools with us. Not my Dad and if he was ok with it so was I. I never heard a word of prejudice from my parents. If they had them , they kept them from us . As far as my own opinion , I don’t remember having one except to follow that of my parents . All that would change in the next 10 years . Watching many great men assassinated before your eyes does something to you, your family , your community and your country. Living through the Vietnam War and it’s political and social effects does something does something to do. Living through Watergate does something to you. All this happening in your teen to adult years gives you opinions.
What do I think 50 years later . I tried very hard to raise my daughter without prejudice . In the 80’s it was almost impossible . They had history to learn about . My husband after losing several jobs had some prejudice . We kept it to ourselves we thought . It feels like in civil rights related laws , we have moved forward. In media presentation , we have moved forward. More black people in government , A black President , more blacks in the workplace , and integration of black people into our society as equals. At least those and other legislative solutions are in place.
However,I don’t know that at least a third of this country has not changed their feelings against minorities including Blacks, Hispanics and others. They are full of hate and fear. They blame our societal problems on them. They blame our political problems on them. They blame our financial problems on them. They fear any minority progress is at the expense of white population. . They resent those laws that were passed . They use politics to say we need change. The change needed has to do with how minorities are treated in ouf society. So 50 years later is it better?, in some ways yes. In some ways. frighteningly not. It seems to be the underlying reason for gridlock in our political system. It stops us from moving forward as a country. It makes us still have a long way to go to give minorities human rights.