45 YEARS AGO TODAY: A Man Had A Dream

“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

— The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., August, 28th 1962

MichaelStipeFLICKR_1.jpgSPINNER: R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe makes no bones about his feelings for George W. Bush, accusing the President of desecrating the memory of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Stipe told the BBC this week that ‘Man Size Wreath,’ a track from R.E.M.’s latest album, ‘Accelerate,’ was written in response to Bush visiting King’s grave in January 2004 during the invasion of Iraq. “I just can’t stand the guy or his administration,” Stipe said. “[The song] was about him going to the graveside of Martin Luther King, one of my heroes, and I think desecrating the memory of that great man and his work by being there during the war. I found it pathetic so I wrote that song about it.” It should also come as little surprise then that Stipe is lending his support to Barack Obama, calling him an “exceptional person” that needs in office. “I think he’s going to make it,” Stipe said, “and it will be a better day for all of us.” MORE


REM: Man Sized Wreath

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Political scientist and author Mark Q. Sawyer runs the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics at UCLA, where he’s taught courses on African-American political thought, contemporary urban governance in the U.S. and the politics of the African diaspora. He’s an expert as well on the intersection between race and gender in Caribbean politics, and has studied the impact of race relations on democratic transition efforts in Cuba. Sawyer talks to Terry Gross about how Barack Obama’s campaign is addressing issues touching on race and ethnicity.

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