Fast forward to the 1860s and the years leading up to the Civil War.
Fast forward to the 1950s and the anti-segregation Montgomery bus boycott.
Fast forward to the 1960s and the North Carolina lunch counter sit-ins.
Fast forward to today.
I believe that almost 50 years later we are still passing around that bad check marked with insufficient funds. I believe we are stilling standing in the symbolic shadow of that great American Abraham Lincoln.
I see and hear about it on the news. I see and read about it online. Sometimes, much to my sadness, I see and hear it with my own eyes and ears, those unkind words or those looks of disdain, respectively.
I have come to learn that the chains of slavery and oppression go far beyond the physical nature of subordination, humiliation and cruelty. Those chains reach deep into hearts, into minds and into souls.
On that historical August day, King ended his speech with a plea for freedom.
King started with New Hampshire: “Let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.”
King ended with Mississippi: “Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill in Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring!”
Meanwhile, let’s stop passing around that bad check marked with insufficient funds. Instead, let’s balance the checkbook for all people.
Let’s move away from the symbolic shadow of Lincoln. Instead, let’s move into the light that we as a nation can create anew, a light of compassion for and acceptance of all people.
Let’s finally stop chasing King’s dream. Let’s make it a reality. Let’s rise up and live out our nation’s creed “that all men are created equal.”
Alvia Lewis Frey is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.