Occupation: Media producer, musician.
Lived the last 50 years: Grew up in Akron, Buchtel High graduate; lived in Woodstock, N.Y., area, New York City and South Salem, N.Y., to 1999, then back to Akron area.
King’s message: Of course he spoke to the idea of human excellence, but on this day in D.C., Dr. King was looking out over a gathering of over 250,000. His challenge to us was to keep the momentum of change going, unrelentingly. And it worked, as the success of this gathering, both in its numbers and the compelling message, was key to the process of the Kennedy administration moving the Civil Rights Act forward.
Accomplished: I think after all this time passing, Dr. King would be disappointed with where our social systems stand, but would feel great pride, knowing the idea of equality had seeped into the mainstream to the point that we’ve witnessed huge, boundary-crossing successes, President Obama being the most notable, of course. But I’d also be remiss if I left out my classmate, the wonderful Rita Dove, among her many successes and honors, having served a term as U.S. Poet Laureate.
Still to be done: Almost everything, and the sad part is that so much backsliding has occurred, things have to be refought. The redistricting and voter suppression efforts on local and state levels aimed directly at the black communities, as well as the destruction by way of defunding the public education system, and efforts to disable entitlements for those in need in this country, is something that would absolutely horrify Dr. King.