When I was in elementary school, I auditioned to be the lead in a school play. I was given the part. And, ironically, my co-star’s name was Coretta Scott. I kid you not, that was her real name.
Coretta played my wife, and I was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I remember telling my parents I got the part. They were so proud. My father sat me down and told me that it was a big responsibility playing Dr. King, and that I had to make sure I showed respect to the man who changed our lives and the lives of millions of people.
For weeks, I studied my lines and practiced in front of my family. My father stressed to me that I had to memorize each word and say the lines flawlessly. To this day, I still remember my lines from Dr. King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.
Over the years, Dr. King’s message has been taken out of context. His dream of equality for all people has been blatantly misinterpreted by race-hustlers and charlatans that use the claim of discrimination as a tool to extort money from others.
Dr. King did not die for the black race. His message was not about retribution or reparations. It was not for the advancement of a certain group of people over another. It was for the equality and freedom for all people.
As a black American growing up in the seventies, I witnessed true racism. My family and I were treated horribly by bigots who did not care about the content of our character and only the color of our skin.
As the years went by, I saw how the sting of discrimination was replaced with tolerance and equality. However, I began to notice a disturbing trend in the black communities. Instead of advancing, upward mobility stalled and, in some cases, retrogressed.
Black families are being torn apart. Crime rates in the black communities are at epidemic numbers. Excuses have taken the place of personal responsibility. Virtues are no longer required, and immoral behavior is being promoted as black culture.
Leaders such as Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall and Booker T. Washington, who fought for full legal, social and economic equality, died off and were replaced with self-appointed civil rights hatemongers and opportunist such as Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and Eric Holder.
Their hate speech and rhetoric has caused division in our country and is helping to undo the very fabric that civil rights leaders stitched together. They use their position of power to exploit and manipulate the ignorant and uninformed.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is arguably the greatest warrior for the American civil rights movement. His message of equal rights for all has inspired little black boys and girls to strive to be pillars of our society.
Sadly, people such as Barack Obama and Eric Holder are trying to convince blacks that they should be treated differently because they cannot be held up to the same standards as the rest of humanity.
This misguided narrative frightens me, but, like Dr. King, I am hopeful that we as a people will get to the promised land. My son caused me to be optimistic.
A couple of years ago, he was also awarded the opportunity to play Dr. King in a school play. Like my father, I felt the pride and joy of watching my son play the man I so admire.
I asked my son, “What did Dr. King stand for?” His answer sent chills down my spine. He said, “Dr. King’s dream was that all people, no matter what color their skin, gender or religious affiliation, will one day be able to achieve the American Dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
I couldn’t be more proud.