. . . Or It Could Wither and Die
My wife and I spent this past weekend in Atlanta, Georgia attending the Trumpet Awards. The Trumpet Awards is an annual event saluting African American Achievement. The event was created in 1993 by Dr. King's longtime associate, Xernona Clayton. Ms. Clayton, who worked closely with Dr. King at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, became the first African American person to host her own television show in the south, in 1969.
Guests of Ms. Clayton get to participate in and play a small part in the Trumpet Award's weekend of events. The events included the induction of Civil Rights' giants into the Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. King served as pastor during the height of the Civil Rights struggles of the sixties and seventies. Our son, Dr. Jamal Hopkins, delivered the invocation at the induction ceremony a couple years ago. This year, I participated in the program as a Ribonier to one of the inductees.
A dream can be a fleeting thing because the dreamer may die or wake up to discover it was a nightmare. As the world watches the current crop of Republicans attack Blacks in America, they seem to be putting in place a new Southern, racist strategy. Their hateful words remind us that Dr. King's dream still needs to be watered or it will be deferred and could die unfulfilled.
Being at Ebenezer Baptist Church and hearing the struggles and seeing the giants in the Civil Rights Movement was inspiring. But leaving the ceremonies and picking up a newspaper or turning on the radio or television news brings back the reality that there is still much work to be done. Dr. King's work opened the door and provided the blueprint for moving forward. Now it is our job to see that it is fulfilled.
This year's crop of Republicans seeking to be President include Ron Paul who says the Civil Rights Bill should not have been passed because it prevents people from making personal choices. Presumably that includes personal choices like the right to choose who can eat in a restaurant. I guess that means making Southern restaurant owners take down their "White Only" signs violated their right to discriminate. Likewise, the White Only signs for certain schools infringed on the rights of racist educators to discriminate. That is one of Paul's current position statements. Writer Leonard Pitts, in the January 5, 2012 Atlanta Journal Constitution, says it's "Too bad Paul can't spend a day being Black in Mississippi." In June 1992, Paul said that the Riots in Los Angeles ended and order was restored when it came time for Blacks to pick up their welfare checks. Newt Gingrich this week said he will go to the NAACP and teach Blacks why it is better to get a paycheck than food stamps. I guess that includes a welfare check, too. He previously said, among other racist things, that 95% of Black men are criminals and that the only experience that Blacks had with exchanging work for money was when the work was illegal. He also said that Black children would do better by being taken from classroom and put to work as Janitors. Recently, Gingrich labeled President Obama, as "the best food stamp president."
Rick Santorum recently said, "I don't want to make Black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money. "
A January 7, 2012 editorial in the New York Times called the G.O.P.'s Black people platform, "Chronicles of the racist attitudes of Republicans including Ronald Reagan and his racist rants about a mythical Welfare Queen."The article does not quote frontrunner Romney, however, I have yet to see him disavow anything said by his fellow Republicans. And to be blunt, everybody knows that Black folks look at Mormons with suspicion anyway. Enough said on that except to ask, does anyone know of any Black Mormon Bishops?
Black poet, Langston Hughes, writes in his famous poem, A Dream Deferred, "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore – And then Run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over—like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load, Or does it explode?" Today the dream of Dr. King is under attack. We must all stay vigilant and work hard watering Dr. King's dream with our sweat to make sure that it continues to live and does not explode.