Dr. King Would See Progress And Problems

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This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

It's the Martin Luther King Junior holiday and for the first time in a long while people are quoting the great civil right leader, and asking in real terms, if America has changed since his tragic death in 1968.

On one hand, the answer is obvious. Dr. King surely dreamed that one day a person of color would become president. That's no dream, but a reality, to the supporters of Barack Obama.

Still, blacks in America are disproportionately represented in the ranks of the poor; in the prison population; and in single parent families. The wounds and the sins of slavery have not been salved by several decades of legal equality. No, plenty of America is still separate and unequal.

Yet there are opportunities in business and education that didn't exist as recently as ten years ago. Still, many African Americans don't believe they have a stake; don't believe the culture is fair.

If Dr. King were alive today, he'd be both pleased and pained.


Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
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