The most unsettling bit about history is perhaps how things tend to remain the same even though they change. The need to stop oppression against minorities is as urgent now as it was decades back. And as we stand confronted with a present which increasingly resembles the past in its atrocities, maybe it is time to look back for guidance. In this regard, there can be nothing more effective than Martin Luther King Jr’s rousing I Have A Dream clarion call.
“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity,” he had said, adding, “But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatise a shameful condition.”
Entreating on the need for justice, he had said, “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”