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“I have a dream,” Dr. Martin Luther King uttered, “that one day…” Every child in America learns about this dream in school. We reminisce about his dream each year as we celebrate his life and legacy, and yet the great question is how do we fulfill this dream? Because upholding segregation is against the law, some argue that we have already achieved an equal “level playing field.” That was not Dr. King’s view; he understood and tried to teach us about the lasting scars of race in this society. The story of African-Americans started with two hundred and fifty years of slavery, followed by a hundred years of legal apartheid—a separate and unequal “public accommodations.” July 2014 will mark the legal ending of this era, only fifty years ago. It took a civil rights movement with the sacrifice of many lives and the heroism of many ordinary people to end legal apartheid in this country. What is the cure for 350 years of legal injustice? President Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon believed the answer was affirmative action. Affirmative action would unlock doors— to gain admission to college, jobs…
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