Where Martin Luther King’s dream stands today

“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 … I have a dream that one day in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” — Martin Luther King Jr., Aug. 28, 1963

It’s one of the most important speeches in American history. Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. It was a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement, before the landmark legislation securing voting, housing and employment rights for all Americans regardless of race. To mark the anniversary, the Census Bureau released statistics about how lives have changed for blacks in America. Below is a snapshot:


1963: 20,255,067 or 10.7 percent of the total U.S. population

2012: 44,456,009 or 14.2 percent of the total U.S. population


The percent of the total black population 18 years and older who voted in the presidential election.

1964: 58.5 percent

2012: 62 percent

The percent of the total U.S. population 18 and older that voted in the presidential election.

1964: 69.3 percent

2012: 56.5 percent


1,469: The number of black elected officials in 1970, the first year this kind of information was collected.

10,500: Estimated number of black elected officials in 2011.


Median income for a black family.

1963: $22,266 (in 2011 dollars)

2011: $40,495


1966: 41.8 percent. Poverty rate for blacks — 1966 is the closest year these statistics are available to the historic speech. Nationally, the poverty rate for all races was 14.7 percent.

2011: 27.6 percent Poverty rate for single-race blacks. Nationally, the poverty rate for all races was 15 percent.


Homeownership rate for blacks — 1970 is the earliest this information is available for race.

1970: 41.6 percent

2011: 43.4 percent


Percentage of blacks age 25 and older who completed at least four years of high school.

1966: 25.7 percent or 2.4 million

2012: 85 percent or 20.3 million


Number of black undergraduate college students.

1964: 234,000

2012: 2.6 million

Percent of blacks age 25 and older who completed at least four years of college.

1964: 3.9 percent

2012: 21.2 percent

Number of blacks who had at least a bachelor’s degree.

1964: 365,000

2012: 5.1 million

Source: Census Bureau

More in Local News

Child porn found in forest treehouse and Mill Creek home

Daniel Wood, 56, has been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography.

The rules: You can’t put just anything on your vanity plate

The state keeps a “banned list” of character combinations that will automatically be denied.

Driver killed in crash identified as Monroe man

Anthony Ray Vannelli Jr. died of blunt force injuries. He was 37.

Edmonds man gets nearly 14 years for murder of roommate

Derrick Crawford, 22, admitted that he shot and intended to kill 27-year-old Joshua Werner.

Motorcyclist seriously hurt in Everett hit-and-run

Police are searching for the driver and a gray Dodge Stratus with extensive front-end damage.

Masked gunman sought in shooting at house near Darrington

The suspect — a neighbor — is still at large. There were no injuries reported, but a television was hit.

‘Working together again like we did back then’ to save fish

Tribes and agencies convene to continue the fight to save salmon — in the name of Billy Frank Jr.

Rape involving students reported at Sultan Middle School

The school district and sheriff’s office are saying little, but officials sought to dispel rumors.

Sound Transit lobbies Congress to keep Lynnwood line funded

President Trump wants to cut a $1.17 billion grant. Bipartisans in Congress could preserve it.

Most Read