’Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred,’ Martin Luther King told his followers as they sought after an America where all men are created equal.
After the passage of a hundred years, freedom and justice had not followed that flash of emancipation of slaves from slave masters and the old Negro song had since grown into an inaudible whisper on the lips of black America. But Dr. King and all those who believed in his quest for freedom yearned not only to sing that old Negro Spiritual, ‘Free at last!’, again but to live it.
1963 in Washington DC, from the steps of Lincoln’s Memorial, Dr. King spoke of a dream and a quest for the riches of freedom, the equality of rights and the security of justice for black America... A cold silence by virtue of a single deafening violent shot from a gun that was bothered by the freedom and dreams of a people could not stop King’s dream. Martin Luther King Junior would never have the privilege of singing that freedom song but those hopes had been rekindled and engraved into the future of a two year old son of a Maasai from Nyang‘oma Kogelo, Kenya.
Little Barrack Obama must have been in his cradle as his mother watched a televised King, speak of his dream, that one day African Americans will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. One day the states sweltering with the heat of injustice, and sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. One day the valleys shall be filled and every hill and mountain shall be made low, rough places made plain and crooked places made straight. And one day every American, black or white, Asian or Hispanic shall sing with a new meaning: ‘My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.’
232 years after the declaration of Independence and 45 years after Martin Luther King’s dream was daringly uttered, ‘The American people have spoken and they have spoken clearly,’ said Senator McCain in his conceding speech. ‘It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America,’ Obama reaffirmed in his victory speech.
King’s dream is here, an American landmark, the pre-eminence of a man of colour as the number-one-man of the world’s number-one-country spells an unparalleled change and redefines a new generation of elected leadership.
America has indeed come a long way and the last ’for whites only’ sign has finally been taken off the walls of The White House.