Editorial: A new day is dawning

African American History Month 2008 is an exciting time. Not only can we explore the special features of the African American experience through history, literature, music, dance, theater and the movies (go see “The Great Debaters”), but we can also take the time to be conscious of the connection between the African American experience and the dawning of a new day in our country.

Oh, yes — a new day is on the horizon.

President Bush just gave his last State of the Union address, and we all await the election of a new president. Whatever happens, our resolve must be the same: the time for change is right now, and we must all be engaged in bringing it about. Everybody is sick and tired of being bushwhacked and bamboozled. As the song lyrics say: “There is a new day coming! Where are you going to be standing when it comes?”

African American History Month 2008 reminds us that the future has a past. The past rests on the fight for freedom against slavery and Jim Crow segregation. The future rests on continuing that fight today for full equality and against social and economic injustice.

The best of the African American tradition calls forth a yearning for the realization of the democratic dream about which Dr. King spoke and for which he died. That democratic dream is good not only for the USA, but indeed the world.

As African American ministers who preach the social gospel are often heard to say, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Joy is on the horizon, and we all have to help bring it into being. It is not a fanciful joy, but a joy rooted in triumph over the current threat to democracy and in forward motion toward social progress and world peace. It is a real joy rooted in the materialization of the power of the people.