Crowd celebrates progress toward realizing King dream

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 21, 2008

On Sunday night, the Rev. Philip Hamilton had the AlexanderJunior High School auditorium thinking about not only Dr. MartinLuther King Jr.’s dreams, but their own as well.

“I wonder if we really are living the dream,” he said. “Could itbe we’ve failed to recognize our blessings?”

Hamilton, pastor of Mount Wade Missionary Baptist Church, spoketo a good crowd at Alpha Phi Alpha’s 2008 Dr. Martin Luther KingJr. Celebration. In keeping with the theme, “A Dream: Today,Tomorrow, and Beyond,” he pointed out the steps forward that havebeen made by blacks since King’s time and the time of the CivilRights Movement.

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“We have reached Dr. King’s dream. We’re not at the back of thebus anymore. We’re able to eat at the same restaurants,” he said.”We don’t work in the big house anymore; some of us own the bighouse now.”

Hamilton directed listeners to consider Joseph from the Bible,who had a dream and told his brothers about it.

“Joseph dreamed a dream and told it to his brothers and theyhated him all the more,” he said. “Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,Joseph was a dreamer.”

And like King, Joseph’s brothers thought the way to squelch thedream was to silence him, Hamilton said.

“They thought the best way to kill the dream was to kill thedreamer,” Hamilton said. “Just as they thought the best way to killDr. King’s dream was to kill Dr. King.”

People will always fear dreamers, he said. As such, visionarieswill often pay some kind of price for the fact that they are notafraid to look ahead to a better day.

“We still have dream-killers in our neighborhood. You couldbecome the victim of your dreams,” he said. “But just keep ondreaming.”

Hamilton spoke about how experts say today’s black society has a”crab mentality.” He said that when many crabs are put in a bucket,when one crab is about to climb out, the others pull him backdown.

“We don’t mind others being blessed as long as their blessing isnot greater than ours,” he said. “When will we realize we mustbring our brothers up with us? Maybe we can’t get ahead because wewon’t help our brothers up.”

Hamilton pinpointed several of the problems plaguing blackculture today, saying that it has returned to slavery in spite ofthe strides made by King and other members of the Civil Rightsmovement.

“The African-American community today, is it part of Dr. King’sdream? We’re now enslaved by drugs and alcohol, and most dangerousof all, the negative mind,” he said.

Between the dangers of society today is also the problem of gangviolence and other divisions in the culture, Hamilton said.

“There is a new KKK among us now, Kindred Killing Kindred. Itdoesn’t take anglo-saxons to kill us anymore. We’re killing eachother,” he said.

The key to moving forward is to understand the principles ofbeing unselfish, Hamilton told the group.

“Until we lift our brothers and sisters up, we will always bestruggling in a starving land,” he said.

“We must pray that God will forgive us for hurting our brothersrather than helping, for selling one another out, for preachingunity when we’re still divided, for being babies’ daddies ratherthan fathers, for remembering the dream and forgetting thedreamer,” he said. “And for being leaders who should have beenassets and instead are liabilities.”

Hamilton reminded parents that it is their job within the hometo be parents to their children rather than trying to win theirapproval.

“You’re not their homeboy or homegirl,” he said. “You’re theirparents.”

The problem in today’s world, Hamilton told the group, is oftenthe inspiration behind the dreams.

“There are selfish dreams motivated by the illusion cast out bythe world that success is measured by the dollar sign,” he said.”Divine dreams inspired by God are never designed to promoteself.”

But the need to dream still lives, Hamilton said, becausewithout the dreams, there is never forward progress.

“Dreams live on in those who dare to believe that God isfaithful to His word,” he said. “And the victory is not in thestruggle, it is in the results of the struggle.”

Hamilton reminded the group that the choice to live the dream orreturn to virtual slavery is their own. He pointed out that abetter life lies ahead for the taking to those who are not afraidto move forward.

“We’ve gone back on all God has blessed us with. We’ve gone backto the slave mentality,” he said. “Why have we returned to astarving land when God has given us the opportunity to live thedream?”

In closing, Hamilton told the group not everyone can be adreamer. Some must be the fulfillment of the dream.

“I’m not one of Dr. King’s dreamers,” he said. “I am the realityof the dream, and I will continue to be what Dr. King dreamed.Regardless of whether you believe it or not, the dream is alive andwell.”