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Moving the Goal Post on Racism

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In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. appeared on a BBC news show. The host asked King about Attorney General Robert Kennedy's prediction, an audacious one at the time, that a black man could be elected president in 40 years.

King thought it would not take that long: "There are certain problems and prejudices and mores in our society which make it difficult now. However, I am very optimistic about the future. Frankly, I have seen certain changes in the United States over the last two years that surprise me. ... On the basis of this, I think we may be able to get a Negro president in less than 40 years. I would think that this could come in 25 years or less."

It took 44 years.

The day after the election of President Barack Obama front-page stories in newspapers all over the country, including The New York Times, quoted black parents saying things like, "For the first time in my life I can truly look my child in the eye and say, yes, you could become president someday."

A tearful Jesse Jackson said he never thought he would see the day. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a civil rights leader who marched with Dr. King, said: "I feel very grateful that I'm still here to be here during this unbelievable historic moment in our........

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