This month, Turner Class Movies has been running the documentary "King: A Filmed Record ... from Montgomery to Memphis." While it has long been available, first on VHS and now DVD and excerpts have been televised over the years, the broadcast of the entire documentary is magnetic. Mostly without narration, the film is allowed to speak for itself and speak it does ... loudly and powerfully.
One sees contorted faces and hears un-bleeped profanities hurled at black marchers. "Go back to Africa!" is one of the few slurs that can be printed in a family newspaper. The scenes are gut-wrenching, embarrassing.
Mine was not the only life touched by Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. It is rightly called one of the greatest orations of all time. For those who were there, this is not an overstatement.
One wonders what Dr. King might think of racial progress today. Yes, there have been great advances in civil rights, but fewer advances in strong black families and economic empowerment. Dr. King's sacrifice opened the door to progress for African-Americans. Perhaps he would say many who are mired in poverty need to go back and retrieve something they seem to have lost, including personal responsibility, accountability and, yes, even faith about which Dr. King often spoke as he salted his speeches with spiritual truths.
Such as this one: "I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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