Fifty Years Later, A Dream Deferred

The struggle for social and economic justice is one I hope to understand and benefit in my work over the next year as a member in the New Sector Alliance’s Residency in Social Enterprise. Great role models like MLK, Jr. give me hope that we can achieve success, equality, and justice one day. It starts in one community but that passion and determination is bound to spread across the globe when we all rise up and work together.

Leila Janah

MLK, Jr.

Fifty years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. presented his dream to the world in one of the best speeches of the twentieth century, we are far behind. Though his words inspired progress — many regard the March on Washington as the pivotal moment that paved the way for broad support of the 1964 Civil Rights Act — Dr. King believed that rights weren’t enough. 

In the last four years of his life, King’s focus shifted from civil rights to economic justice. He pointed out that despite the legislative and moral victories of the civil rights movement, the majority of African Americans still lived in poverty, had low rates of literacy, and could not enjoy the basic elements of human dignity that most Americans took for granted. Weeks before King was killed in 1968, he addressed a crowd of strikers in Memphis:

“Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality…

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2 thoughts on “Fifty Years Later, A Dream Deferred

  1. What are your thoughts about family planning in African American communities (<$60,000 per capita) and its effect on economic capabilities and economic mobility expectations?

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