The Dream going forward: Remembering MLK's legacy in today's political climate

Image: WTVC

People across America remembered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday and his fight for racial equality.

On August 28, 1963, Dr. King gave his "I have a dream" speech. On the day people across America remember Reverend King's legacy, we checked in on the state of MLK's dream in our current political climate.

We asked people in Chattanooga if they thought the dream changed, and if they think we've made progress in the light of recent events. Their answer? We still have a long way to go.

Franklin McCallie sits outside the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, and remembers the days his father would not let the McCallie School be integrated.

"I was raised a racist. I was racist until 20 years of age," says McCallie. From then on, he took on what he calls the duty of becoming a social justice advocate.

"I thought by now we would be way ahead. I taught at Howard high school in '68 and '71. I thought we were coming from then," says McCallie, "I was enthused. I was excited but now I have to say - what?"

It was just 2016 when a Polk County candidate for Congress put up a billboard promising to "Make America White Again." Then came last year's white nationalist protests in Shelbyville and Charlottesville.

McCallie says he feels the dream is getting farther away.

Just last week, a local cutlery store, pulled a knife carrying a swastika symbol from their shelves after our story.

"Our ancestors fought and died in Europe against Hitler, fighting this symbol, and they think it's okay for them to rally an to say white supremacy?" asked McCallie.

Related | 'Serving is a major deal' - local volunteers finish 50 projects on MLK Day of Service

Kevin Love was born and raised in Texas. He recently moved to the city of Chattanooga, and helped out with an event for MLK day Monday at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

"Sometimes you have to move backwards to move forwards again," says Love, "You have to assess before you move forward."

We showed Kevin pictures of these local clashes of social tension, and asked how has the dream evolved.

"The dream is a different vision of us working together, and that came through in a way," says Love.

Using our NewsChannel 9 SkyCam, we followed the march down MLK Boulevard Monday afternoon.

It started at Olivet Baptist Church and ended at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

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