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Thabiti Anyabwile on Dr. King’s Dream

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In this video, TGC Council member Thabiti Anyabwile argues that while much has been accomplished and should be valued, still much of what Dr. King dreamed of remains unfulfilled.


In my opinion, Dr. King’s dream is yet unrealized. I think there have been some major advances that are partial fulfillments. The Voting Rights Act is a great example of this. The franchise to vote was symbolic of so much of the American ideal and of Dr. King’s dream. And the passage of that landmark legislation has to be regarded as a tremendous success of the civil rights movement. And yet if you read Dr. King later, he’s not just talking about fair voting practices and the Voting Rights Act. He’s talking about campaigns against poverty, he’s speaking out on the war in Vietnam, and he’s looking at injustices abroad. He has a much more sweeping vision of what he would think the beloved community would entail. We were nowhere near that in Dr. King’s day. We’re nowhere near that in our day though we’ve seen progress.

And so it’s important that if we’re going to think about Dr. King and appropriate his vision, that we have to understand how sweeping it was and how prophetic it was in its late bloom, and the lifetime sacrifice that vision would require in pushing toward justice for all.

And so we can clearly see lots of progress, lots of things to be encouraged by. But we also have the realization that that dream needs to be given life in every generation, and it reaches further than just the Voting Rights Act which, by the way, is sometimes tenuous and sometimes debated. Efforts have been made to repeal it in various ways or to let it expire. So even monumental accomplishments can’t be taken for granted. We have to be vigilant and continue to work on if we’re going to see more and more of that dream realized. We’ll see it finally realized when Christ comes, but until then we work.