40 years since 'I have a dream'

August 21, 2003
As the nation marks the 40th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s galvanizing "I have a dream" speech this weekend, the previously widespread practices of racial discrimination and segregation that sparked the massive rally in Washington, D.C., seem preposterous by today's commonly accepted standards of justice and equality.
     King offered his impression of the tenor of those times in his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he warned all Americans: "It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the movement. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality."
     While area civil rights leaders point to huge strides in race relations since the 1960s, they say much work remains for themselves and for a new generation of activists.