Written by Tony Brown, former I.S. parent
He had a dream. His dream was that little white boys and little white girls would one day sit down beside little black boys and little black girls and reside together in a peaceful, harmonious society. This was imperative at a time in America’s recent past when racial injustice combined with Jim Crow laws made it extremely difficult for black Americans to know in their hearts exactly what the words written in the U.S. Constitution, ‘We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal’ really meant and find out once and for all that that eloquent phrase really did apply to them too. When America’s founders spoke of ‘self evident’ truths they actually were invoking the long tradition of natural law which holds that there is a ‘higher law’ of right and wrong. It was their desire that this country not be founded on solely political will, but moral reasoning accessible to all. Moral reasoning is essential to the dream becoming reality. Only when asleep could this black man dare dream that racial equality would actually occur because when awake the reality played out oftentimes was man’s inhumanity to man. For instance, it was commonplace in the deep South that a black person was taught to never look a White man or woman directly in the eyes, or when a black person encountered a White person on the sidewalk the black person was mandated to step into the street to allow the White male or female to pass by. Why would He want to be awakened to a life like this? Tis much better to dream that slave owners and slaves would sit down in brotherhood because dreaming was the only way the slave could find a peaceful existence that excluded him/her while awake. Only while dreaming could he dare believe that in Mississippi – the state where three civil rights workers, James Cheney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were murdered attempting to register blacks to vote – could ever possibly be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. Only when one has drank a little too much wine and is in a deep sleep would he dare dream that his four children would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Yet there is hope! He asked that freedom be allowed to ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire to the curvaceous slopes of California via Stone Mountain in Georgia and Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. When he awoke he knew that moral reasoning amongst the multitude of folks that comprise this mighty nation is the only way the bell’s clapper would announce the election of one Barack Hussein Obama 48 short years after his slumber.
MsB: We must all dare ourselves to dream!