Interpreting The Dream
"...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. So we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition."
Martin Luther King
When Martin Luther King Jr wrote his 'I Have a Dream 'speech, it was with the impression that there was something American that belonged to the Negro. Something that had been denied him. A discrepancy King addressed as a 'shameful condition'. Today, I am writing to dramatize an equally shameful condition. That of ignorance and complacency. There is little question that in Dr Martin Luther King's 'I have a Dream' speech his intent and goal was equal treatment for blacks under the law. Dr King was influenced by the segregation of a period known as the Jim Crow South and considered the Negro 'an exile in his own land', despite ancestral slave history. I make this distiction to address the ignorance I mentioned, but not to the detriment of Dr. King's legacy.
When the European Settlers first arrived on the shores of the Americas, these lands belonged to a people depicted by them as barbarian and warlike, a tribal people called 'Indians' because the Americas were known as the 'West Indies'. When the white man arrived in Indian Territory, there was no way the natives could have been prepared for what would befall them. It was not until the Colonists began to expand westward did the Natives find reason to be hostile. What was once ignored, and since 'forgotten', is that the European 'settlers' were invaders from the perspective of Native Americans. Invaders now depicted as a benevolent and cultured race. 'The leaders of the free world', as they are now called.
Native Americans are the true exiles of whom King spoke. A people who had lived here for centuries before the European Settlers arrived. A people who's honor and integrity would eventually lead to their downfall. These are the people who have had what belonged to them stripped away, only to be fenced in on all sides by 'reservations' established for them by 'lawful decree'. The Negro was brought here as slave labor, and wars have been fought for our freedom. But the wars fought by the Native Americans are depicted as wild and hostile attacks against life, limb, and property. No other race has fought for the freedom of Native Americans. No cry of repatriation or reparation has gone up for the disgraces that have been perpetrated upon them. Native Americans are still on the same reserves 'given' to them by the Americans who first took the land from them.
Native Americans have endured countless attrocities perpetrated upon them during the colonial years. Though they escaped enslavement, they almost did not escape the American expansion westward intacts as a people. What remains of Native Americans now are a people seeking recognition of their culture and heritage, but on their reserves they are coddled by the government to keep them pliant. In colonial times, it was alcohol, now in the modern, it is gambling and tobacco. Native American have had a different type of American 'freedom' granted them, a freedom that extends only to their 'official' government reservations. Though desirable in comparision to the freedom Black Americans have received, neither equates with the freedom both Native Americans and Africans Americans enjoyed before the Europeans settled their lands.
When Africa was settled by the Europeans, those tribes not initially destoyed were bound and transported as slave labor for centuries. In the African homeland, the native African has only recently been 'freed' from European Apartied, the older brother to American Segregation. Before being set free by Lincoln's historical speech, American slaves suffered cruelly at the hands of their slave owners. After being 'freed', one hundred years more they endured discrimination, torture, and murder because of the prejudiced, the likes of which inspired Dr. King. Since then, we have been lifted up from the lows of segregation and discrimination, formerly appolgized to, and reinterred as 'Americans of African decent'. All within the last fourty years.
To keep boredom down, and interest up, the remainer of this article can be found at the following address:
Freedom Revolution to Establish the Egalitarian Deporment Of Mankind.