BOSTON (CBS) —- Fifty years after Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, what of Boston?
Sometimes tainted as a racist city, and other times as a “City on a Hill,” How far has the city come since Dr. King’s speech?
We asked people in the South End, Roxbury and South Boston that question today.
“I feel like we’ve come really far,” “I think Boston is very different from what it was before,” and “I think there’s some improvements, but there’s still a lot to be done,” are just three of the comments we heard.
They are voices of the city, talking about “the dream,” fulfilled or denied.
“I mean we’re not getting whipped with the hoses and the dogs, but I don’t think we came that far,” said one woman outside Roxbury Community College.
Race has often troubled Boston as the school buses were ordered to roll in the name of integration and protests erupted into violence.
From the 1977 election of John O’Bryant, the first African American elected to the Boston School Committee in the 20th century, to the 2006 election of Deval Patrick, the state’s first black governor, people of color have undeniable made progress.
Yet, issues of poverty and lack of opportunity still exist.
“I think there’s been tremendous progress made in terms of race relations, but there’s a lot more to happen. The bigger thing right now is not so much racial, but more, class,” said a man walking down Tremont St. in the South End.
“I know my aunts and uncles have told me how hard it was back in the day for them to get around in Boston and things were really unfair, but now the equality came to a level I think everybody can cope with and be comfortable with,” says another.
“It’s night and day. Before a person of color wouldn’t even walk over here, the same thing with Roxbury, white people wouldn’t go into Roxbury,” says a South Boston resident.
We also asked people what needs to be done.
Several said more job opportunities and better education.
One thing they all agreed on, that even with the election of President Barrack Obama, Dr. King’s dream has not been completely realized.