What would Martin Luther King, Jr. think of the future?

Raj Tawney

What would Dr. King think of the future?
Would he find his dream becoming a reality or just a VR experience? 

Would he see a united front
against oppression and inequality? 

Or a segregation of beliefs
of classes and of colors 

Would he gleam at Barack and even find good in Don
the way he did with Jack and Dick? 

Would he see his words set in motion
or just quoted and carved into stone for passersby? 

Would he think of himself as outdated?
A relic living only inside textbooks, on YouTube and in museums?

Or a timeless symbol of hope
An ageless mind with eternal strength in his voice 

I hope he’d be proud of this future
I hope he knows some of us still dream.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered on April 4, 1968. Fifty-two years later, most Americans seem only to remember him for his famous “I Have A Dream . . . " speech, which serves as a touchstone for the Civil Rights Movement. That fuzzy, black-and-white footage plays in classrooms across our country, and clips of it are occasionally dropped into news segments as supporting material. A recent TIME Magazine article explains how, in an effort to reach new audiences, Dr. King and his speech are being transformed into a virtual reality experience.

For all of his life's work, those words Dr. King spoke in 1963 represented an ideal society that we've been striving to achieve ever since. But have we? I can’t help but wonder what he’d think of the future he dreamt of all those years ago. And what would he think of his own legacy in the modern world?

Raj Tawney is a poet, essayist and journalist in New York writing about American race and culture from his multiracial perspective. Recent contributions include New York Magazine, The Boston Globe, and Oprah Magazine.