. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS Radio: Newsmark – The Dream And The Realty – Martin Luther King – January 18, 1987 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
Three years after it was signed into law, and a year after it was officially celebrated, people were asking questions about race relations in America. The country in 1987 was still sharply divided on the issue of Race. There were states which refused to observe Martin Luther King’s Birthday as a national holiday. The old issues, the prejudices were still there. Many felt old patterns died hard and the racial divide in America would never really go away.
And there were some who were convinced the now-iconic March on Washington signaled an end to segregation, racial prejudice and discrimination. And that Dr. Martin Luther King‘s I Have A Dream address meant everything was now okay – there was no more racism in America – life could now go back to normal.
But the reality was anything but rosy. The struggles which the marches and protests and civil disobedience put into pin-point focus were now only beginning. And as was predicted by Dr. King, this new struggle was going to be the worst.
And cut to the world of 2015, things seem worse than ever. Racism, which went underground for a time has bubbled to the top in recent years. Now that we have a Black President, one gets the feeling it has now become okay to spew hate, proclaim prejudice, openly discriminate and profile.
But 1987 was not that far from the 1960s and Martin Luther King Day was relatively new. Discussions about the then-current state of Race relations in America were going on, and the matter of some states choosing not to observe the holiday were objects of questioning just how far we’ve come, or not come, in those years.
As part of the weekly radio series Newsmark from CBS News, a documentary look at the legacy of Martin Luther King and a discussion on the state of race relations in America with Representative John Lewis, the newly elected Congressman from Atlanta, who was also a veteran of the civil rights movement. David Garrow, the author of Bearing The Cross, a new book about Dr. Martin Luther King and Dr.Joseph Lowery, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
An interesting comparison between the state of Race Relations in 1987 to those of the past few years.
Much has changed – or has it changed at all?
Here is that discussion from January 18, 1987.