The Other America
For many who marched and supported the civil rights movement the election of Barak Obama as president has fulfilled the Dream that Martin Luther King Jr. declared in his speech at the Lincoln Memorial. In March of 1968 at Grosse Pointe High School in Grosse Pointe Michigan Dr King began to address other pervasive problems and conditions occurring in the United States. The conditions he described closely parallel the economy the United States is grappling with today. He titled the speech “The Other America”. Here is how he outlined the other America.
“In this other America, thousands and thousands of people, men in particular walk the streets in search for jobs that do not exist. In this other America, millions of people are forced to live in vermin-filled, distressing housing conditions where they do not have the privilege of having wall-to-wall carpeting, but all too often, they end up with wall-to-wall rats and roaches. . . In this other America, thousands of young people are deprived of an opportunity to get an adequate education. Every year thousands finish high school reading at a seventh, eighth and sometimes ninth grade level. Not because they're dumb, not because they don't have the native intelligence, but because the schools are so inadequate, so over-crowded, and so devoid of quality … that the best in these minds
can never come out. Probably the most critical problem in the other America is the economic problem. There are so many other people in the other America who can never make ends meet because their incomes are far too low if they have incomes, and their jobs are so devoid of quality. And so in this other America, unemployment is a reality and under-employment is a reality.”
In the Grosse Pointe speech he said, “I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” When he was killed Dr. King was addressing unemployment, politics and the interrelatedness of world conditions.” it's alright to talk about integrated schools and in integrated lunch counters,” he said, “. . . I will continue to work for, but I think it would be rather absurd for me to work for integrated schools and not be concerned about the survival of the world in which to integrate. “As we commemorate Dr King let us not forget what he stood for which was “Brotherhood “and the conditions that impact all people.