The nightmare Dr. King didn't share

By James Harper
Guest Columnist
Headline Surfer®

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla -- Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about how he had a dream. If he were alive today, 85 years after his birth on January 15, 1929, he would be giving a speech about the nightmare he had that came true.

When King was born, there was a unified black community. Racism was alive and well and in their faces. Segregation was the norm, especially in the South. There was one enemy, the White Man.

When King was born, there was a unified black community. Racism was alive and well and in their faces. Segregation was the norm, especially in the South. There was one enemy, the White Man.

Blacks looked after each other. They supported each other's businesses -- making sure their neighbors' kids were safe.

They took in family members and friends who had nowhere to put their head. They made sure no one went hungry, even if it meant sacrificing the little they had.

Oh, how so much has changed.

Have blacks become their own worst enemy? The nightmare Dr. King had included blacks killing each other in high rates. Homelessness running rampant among them. Jails filled to capacity becoming the new slavery. Education becoming no longer a priority and badge of honor. Children starving not knowing where their next meal might come from. Their babies having babies. Black fathers not taking care of their children.

Have blacks become their own worst enemy? The nightmare Dr. King had included blacks killing each other in high rates. Homelessness running rampant among them. Jails filled to capacity becoming the new slavery. Education becoming no longer a priority and badge of honor. Children starving not knowing where their next meal might come from. Their babies having babies. Black fathers not taking care of their children.

Dr. King's dream was about hope and a new day, He wanted the freedom to ring for everyone. Yes,  the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners are able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

Yes, the state of Mississippi has transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice for more some 50 later. Yes, his four little children live in a nation where they are not judged only by the color of their skin, but also by the content of their character.

In Alabama, little black boys and black girls are able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

In his dream, Dr. King had a lot of hope and faith. But in his nightmare, his worst thoughts have come to fruition.

"With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day," Dr. King declared, on Aug. 28, 1963 in Washington, D.C. before hundreds of thousands.

Unfortunately, we are going to jail together, black and white at record numbers. Together, we are dropping out of school. Together, we are unemployed. Together, we are hungry and homeless. The rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer.

Unfortunately, we are going to jail together, black and white at record numbers. Together, we are dropping out of school. Together, we are unemployed. Together, we are hungry and homeless. The rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer.

Will freedom ring one day for us all? Will we be able to shout to the rafters, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God, Almighty,we are free at last."  

Not if the rest of the nightmare is revealed.

Will there be more of us addicted to drugs and alcohol? Incarcerated and convicted of crimes that discriminate against us? Will there be more of us sent away to fight unnecessary wars that our politicians in Washington started? Will we continue to elect people who want to do less for the poor, the needy and the elderly? Will we continue to have politicians who are more worried about getting re-elected than caring about their constituents who need them the most?

This nightmare is too real.

What if Dr. King had lived? Where would we be today?

"Thank God, Almighty, we are free at last?"

James Harper of Daytona / Headline SurferMeet guest columnist James Harper
James Harper is former editorial page editor and senior reporter for the weekly Daytona Times and Florida Courier. Prior to the Times, was a copy editor for the Daytona Beach News-Journal in the 1980s. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1984, with a bachelor's in journalism.
Harper has won numerous journalism industry awards, including first place from the Florida Press Club and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. He was chosen by the NNPA in 2012, to cover the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. The conference, which attracted 20,000 attendees from around the world, was held in the U.S. for the first time in 20 years. Harper is currently working as a freelance writer.
One of Harper's proudest writing assignments was covering last summer's George Zimmerman murder trial in Sanford, Fla. He and Headline Surfer Publisher® Henry Frederick were the only members of the working press from Volusia County to actively cover the daily proceedings from the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center. Harper's stories were picked up by dozens of papers, most members of the NNPA.
Harper also has won Griot Awards and an award from the Florida Press Association for his various writings. He has dedicated most of his journalism career covering stories that impact the Black community. The National Newspaper Publishers Association is comprised of more than 200 black-owned newspapers across the US
Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.