Posted at: 08/25/2013 11:19 PM
| Updated at: 08/26/2013 10:42 AM
By: Steve Flamisch
ALBANY -- Close to 50 years after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech, African-Americans are split over whether the dream is a reality.
At the landmark civil rights march on Aug. 28, 1963, King said he dreamed of his children living in a nation "where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
Altamese Gause, of Albany, said that part of King's vision has come to pass. Gause said Sunday that when her six-month-old daughter grows up, people will judge her on the basis of ability instead of race.
"I don't think that they will look at her because of her color but what can she do," Gause said. "I'm in the IT field. I've worked in Germany. I was in the military. I worked for some of the big businesses that a lot of people out here wish they could get into, and I got in off of my skill."
Other people contend the racial divide still exists in some forms. Terrence Turner, of Albany, said he fears his biracial granddaughter may still experience discrimination and prejudice in the future.
"Things are improving but we have a long ways to go," Turner said. "I really think that probably the best thing that could probably happen for our country is having a dialogue on it. I don't think we talk about it enough."
The dialogue needs a reboot, according to Bernie Bryan, president of the Albany Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
The election and re-election of President Barack Obama, while encouraging to young African-Americans, led to complacency and stagnation in the civil rights movement, Bryan said.
"If you come to one of the NAACP meetings, most folks aren't under 40," he said. "Most folks are north of 50 because they experienced some of the civil rights movement first-hand."
What still needs to be done? Bryan said young people of all races must receive a quality education -- it's still "the great equalizer," he said -- and King's vision must not be forgotten.
"That kind of sentiment has to really permeate some of our public policies," Bryan said.