On this date, August 28th, in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his conscience-raising 'I Have a Dream ' speech in Washington, D.C. Tonight, on the anniversary of Dr. King's call for justice, Barack Obama will deliver another momentous address on hopes and dreams.
In 1963, Dr. King said, 'Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.'
Tonight, Sen. Obama has an opportunity to emblazon another moment, speaking as the first African-American nominee of a major party for President of the United States. It is a long overdue triumph that should be shared by all Americans, regardless of political leanings.
As Barack Obama said in his thoughtful oration on race in Philadelphia earlier this year, 'In the end, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.'
Before we watch Obama's speech tonight, it would do us well to watch again the righteous words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., from 45 years ago.