Higher ed has a duty to pursue King’s dream

January 22, 2019

There was more apprehension than usual at our home in Washington, D.C. on that humid August night in 1963, the day before the “March on Washington” where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered one of the greatest orations in American history with his “I Have A Dream” speech. 

My father, Rabbi Richard G. Hirsch, a prominent civil rights activist, and my mother were hosting a barbecue for interdenominational clergy at our home, as they often did. There was concern about whether the march, which many of the guests helped to organize, would erupt into violence as had other marches around the country at the time.

The next day on the Washington Mall, as a seven-year-old child standing at my parents’ side, I listened to King deliver what is among the most inspirational proclamations of the mission and promise of America. A performance blended into an indelible melodic tapestry of righteousness and moral clarity.