This story begins at a time when there was no hope.
Black people just like you and me were a faceless group amongst Americans, Blacks born and bred there were barely called third rate Americans, second only to the mixed and coloured peoples riff-raffs who make up a third the American populace. Blacks were a gathering of dejected and wasted people barely off the plantations where our forefathers had laboured for centuries as slaves and serves. The movie Roots is a good depiction of the life and times of the black slave in the hands of the white Lords. If you haven’t seen the movie, make sure you see it at least once, but please don’t watch it too many times or you might get the feeling of grabbing a fresh cutlass and finding the next white homie you can lay your eyes on and relieve him of his head.
100 years earlier to the time of this story, the white man had signed the Emancipation proclamation makng the black man a full fledged American citizen, but as recently as the 1960’s the black man could not get served at a white man’s restaurant. He could not share the same bus, He could not go to the same school nor could he fall in love with a white Chic and live within the society. Rather they got severely beaten in the street for standing too close to white property or shot publicly for requested to get the same right as their white brothers. If a black man was found to be rebellious or was found challenging the white man’s authoritarian rule of society a terrorist secret cult backed by wealthy and highly placed White men called the “Ku klux Klan” which had made it self a tool for bringing retribution to blacks that resisted the white man’s oppression and almost always, they treated his rebellion with deadly return. (Now who said the Arabs started terrorism)
Blacks lived in utter fear and in degrading circumstances and the White man’s Apartheid was all but legal. It seemed like it will never end and many black had come to accept their fate in life and believe that somehow God had dealt us the worst hand possible to any race on the Earth. We were the dredge of the earth – a mere Nigger.
But one man really believed differently. A certain gentleman, in the midst of the Civil movements of the 1960’s arose with other black but educated men and women, asking and then peacefully challenging the lot of the black man in the American society. A man named Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. Recently I watched a recording of a speech the man gave to a mammoth crowd in the 1960’s. He spoke about a dream on 28th August 1963 and I will quote parts of it.
“…Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment I still have a dream… I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood…
…I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive…
…The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone…I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”
You should read that whole speech…it made tears come to my eyes recently and I will tell you why.
Not too long after this speech Martin Luther King Jr. was shot by we know who…but please note, I do not engender hatred against white people,(It is not a white man’s disease but a sin of all of Humanity) for if they did not kill him, maybe we would not be telling his story today.
On the 20th of January 2009, less than 50 years later another gentleman Mr. Barack Obama, a black man with an astonishingly fast rise to the position of the most Powerful Leader in the World and President of the United States of America symbolically rolled back the pain and suppression of the black man in that land, fulfilling the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.
Coincidentally, a day to the Inauguration of President Obama as the 44th President of the United States, the United States celebrated the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream on the 19th of January 2009 (as usual practice on the third Monday in the month of January). This day fell on the day before the first black president was sworn in. humm!!!
It struck me and many others that somehow before Martin Luther King Jr. was born God had planned that day to herald the fulfilment of his dream controlling men and orchestrating policies to manifest his word through Martin Luther King Jr. when Dr. King said “I have a dream that one day…the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. (See the last paragraph of the Quote above)
We all saw that day and stood in amazement and realized clearly that God reigns supreme in the lives and affairs of men. Think about this and believe.
I ask you then today, if you believe in the same God who could break the oppressive rule of the Egyptians over the Israelites, the Persians over the Greeks, the Romans over the world. Or is he not still the same God who broke the oppression of the White man over the Black? Can the same God not break the hand of a black Nigerian man over other Nigerians? Why then do we Nigerians think that God cannot cause Nigeria to change?
I tell you this therefore assuredly, even though we see times of hopelessness and the stranglehold of the Nigerian-corrupt, choke and suppression every voice of a greater future. I say to you that one day Nigeria will stand up and be the Nigeria of our dreams, a nation where good and honest men may freely pursue their dreams and help all others achieve theirs too. A day will come when our leaders will be men that will fight for our greater good and they will not squander our joint inheritance on personal enrichment and empowerment.
I see a time when the Nigerian Child will have hope and our taxes will go to ensuring his hope will be fulfilled. One day Nigeria will be greater than the America we see today.
This is my dream, it can be your dream and can be everyone’s too. God can make it and a lot more than you can ask or imagine.
God bless Nigeria, God bless us and God bless you.
Written by Tolu Awobiyi