"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
The turbulent year of 1963 will always stand out as a milestone in our history.
It was the year that our President, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated.
There had been Presidents killed in office before, but this was different.
President Kennedy's assassination, and the subsequent mourning period that followed, played out in real time on television.
Never before had our nation so visibly shared its grief.
In 1963, we also began to realize that "Separate but Equal" should have no future in our country.
Hundreds of thousands marched on Washington D.C. to make that point.
There they heard Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently relay his dream that someday – someday – his four little children would "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Tragically, 1963 was also the year in which four young African-American girls were murdered when a Birmingham church was bombed by a white supremacist.
But 1963 was also the year that blacks and whites symbolically came together to share meals in Charlotte restaurants – showing that racial harmony in the South did have a future.
Here we are five decades later, and we still have a way to go to ensure peace and equality in our nation.
But we're better.
Let's hope it won't take another 50 years to make Dr. King's dream a reality.