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An Apology to Dr. King

Our fight for freedom and justice is not over. Now, it is up to our children and grandchildren to ensure that King’s dream is deferred no longer.

The evidence shows that our failure is as complete as it is indisputable.  Nearly 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, American education remains largely segregated by race, with black children bearing the brunt of failing public schools. We’re failing King in economic justice. Today, the wealth gap between African Americans and white Americans is wider than ever, and black-owned businesses remain largely excluded from economic power centers—from Hollywood and Silicon Valley to Wall Street and Madison Avenue. The quality of life for African Americans in our urban centers has hardly improved, and in many cases, has worsened, since many urban areas were destroyed by riots in the aftermath of King’s assassination. Sadly, in nearly every area, from healthcare outcomes to high school drop-out rates to entire generations of African Americans trapped in our prison system, the world we’re leaving to our children and grandchildren is no better than the one we inherited.

I was assigned by Sen. Robert Kennedy to assist Coretta Scott King with getting her slain husband’s body from Memphis to Atlanta. I know intimately the ultimate sacrifice that King made—based on the promise of future generations—so that we would have the opportunities that we enjoy today. It’s a promise we have failed to keep.

Our fight for freedom and justice is not over. We have not won. Memorials aside, my generation owes an apology to King for having dropped the baton, for not taking the torch he lit and running with it. Now, it is up to our children and grandchildren to continue the fight to ensure that King’s dream is deferred no longer, and that all African Americans, not just a select, privileged, or fortunate few, reach the promised land of freedom, equality, justice, and opportunity.

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  • Just A Guy

    Actually,

    The apology needs to be that we aren’t trying to make sure ALL Americans “reach the promised land of freedom, equality, justice, and opportunity.”

    Dr. King said “… live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    Dr. King wasn’t about African-Americans. He was about us all being Americans, with equal opportunity for all.

  • The Entrepreneur MarkDavid Carter

    I believe Dr. Kings DREAM involved “passing the baton”. Did African American baby boomers and Buppies forget this? They haven’t mirrored the example you have set in grooming Earl Graves, Jr. for his future survival and the continuation of what you have worked hard to build. So I do agree with you. Many are have secured the baton and are still running with it. They refuse to PASS IT because they’re still trying to make up for their mistakes which has stunted their advancement. In the process, they are leaving the youth behind.

  • The Entrepreneur MarkDavid Carter

    Dr. Graves I applaud you for your example and your voice. Thank you.