This past week was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech. In 1963, almost 250,000 people attended the march on the nation’s capital. There were people far and wide who converged on Washington D.C. to partake the celebration of the march. It was great to see pictures on Instagram and Facebook of people joining in solidarity for an event that changed the course of American History. A few days after the March commenced I found myself think about how far we come and how far we need to go. One of the major conclusions I came to is that many people love the idea of the March on Washington and King’s Dream but don’t truly believe and live their lives about this dream. We believe more in the March itself than we believe in ourselves.
Throughout history people have adapted and changed the ideas of people to fit their own agenda. Moreover these ideas and concepts are even more warped when the person is martyred or died early. For instance, in hip hop you have so many people talking and propagating how much they loved and are carrying on the legacy of Tupac Shakur or Notorious B.I.G. I always wonder are people really continuing the legacy’s of these MCs or just jumping on board with the cool thing to do because these icons died early. The same thing can be said for the legacy of Martin and Malcolm X. It has become the cool thing to be down with Martin or Malcolm and we don’t take them as men that were just like one of us. We have made our belief in events and certain people more important that believing in the application in our lives.
Let’s keep it real many people white and black weren’t down with Martin or Malcolm because if they were more than 250,000 people would have showed up in Washington in 1963 or at the many speeches of Malcolm. I will take it a step even further that if everyone was so down with Martin and Malcolm back then that they wouldn’t have been martyred. We can’t just keep speaking the name of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, or the idea of the March on Washington but living our lives and making the lives around us better.
The reason this came to mind is because of how many people speak use the words and philosophies of Martin and Malcolm but their actions reflect more of self-serving ideas. It is almost like they want these men’s philosophies to fit their own agenda. The March on Washington is something that is bigger than many of us can fathom of today and probably will never be eclipsed. The landscape we live on has dramatically changed but at the same time stayed the same because as much as we want to believe that some people’s ideas have changed. The truth is that many of them have just rearranged themselves.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. – Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin’s dream of everyone being judged by their character and not by their color only includes those people who look just like them, walk like them, and talk like them. It’s interesting how some people invoke the all-inclusive model of Martin Luther King’s speech but have no empathy in the death of Trayvon Martin and even believe he should have died.
Someone’s own personal belief about homosexuality is their own choice. However, it’s interesting how many people are against the legalization of gay marriage but don’t even know or take into account that the person who was the one of the spearheads behind the March on Washington, Bayard Rustin was gay.
Some woman’s rights causes are sometimes wrongfully dismissed. Conversely, people don’t remember how many women such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Myrlie Evers, Rosa Parks, and the many women who held down those men who were on the front lines for the Civil Rights movement.
We believe everything spoken by the speakers at the March on Washington to that every person should have the opportunity for life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Then, we live our lives believing truly that only belongs to a select group of people.
The revolution is a serious one…The black masses are on the march for jobs and freedom, and we must say to the politicians that there won’t be a “cooling-off” period. – John Lewis
Who knows what these people would have thought about the world today. In many ways we can’t live from just their principles but take those things from our past and evolve them into the template of the world today. As much as people say they want change they really don’t want things to change too much. I hear people all the time say I want things to go to back in the day but do you really want back in the day or have nostalgia to our past. We have to quit trying to use the images and ideas of our historical figures for own gain and begin to use those things to make our world a better place.
Small rant over…
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