In November, a majority of blacks for the first time believed that the U.S. would eventually find a solution to its racial problems; now a majority of blacks believe that race relations will always be a problem in this country. Blacks do believe that the Obama presidency will be good for them — 61 percent say that the quality of life for African-Americans will improve over the next four years. Optimism for a new era has also dropped among whites.
The poll found 69 percent of blacks said King’s vision has been fulfilled in the more than 45 years since his 1963 “I have a dream” speech — roughly double the 34 percent who agreed with that assessment in a similar poll taken last March.
What about the Voting Rights Act, one of the signature achievements of the civil rights movement, which will be reviewed by the Supreme Court later this year? Two-thirds of blacks questioned in the poll say the U.S. still needs the Voting Rights Act today, but white respondents are split down the middle over whether that law is still necessary.
The voting rights act prohibits things like literacy tests at the polls. People act like the wealth of this nation just happens, and doesn’t come from the hard work of a dedicated few. The future will have surprises.