April 4th 2008 is the 40th anniversary of the assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To see and hear his powerful and inspiring “I Have a Dream” speech, I invite you check out the blog I posted on his birthday this year:


But for some reason, today I can’t get out of my mind a short poem by another eloquent African-American hero of mine.  Its title is “Harlem,” although it is applicable to more than one place, more than one “race,” and more than one dream.  Langston Hughes wrote this poem in 1951, more than a decade before Dr. King’s famous “Dream” speech.  Yet the poem and speech always remind me of each other.

Langston Hughes’ “Harlem” is also known as “Dream Deferred.”
And though I’ve read it dozens of times, it still speaks loudly to the core of my being.

[Langston Hughes]

Anyway, I wonder what you think…
Has Dr. King’s dream been deferred – by his untimely death or otherwise?
Or has his dream, over time, come true?

Might we say it’s been a little of both?
And if so, can we quantify it?
For example: 50% true and 50% deferred?  60 and 40?  40 and 60?  20 and 80?
Food for thought… and I welcome your feedback.

Without further ado, here’s Hughes’ poem:

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?