RICHMOND, Va. — Virginians are divided on whether the ideals in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech have been realized, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.
Forty-five percent of the 1,589 Virginia adults surveyed say people today are judged mainly on the color of their skin, while 44 percent say people are judged mainly on the content of their character.
The poll, however, shows 60 percent of Virginians believe their children will live in a nation where they are judged mainly on their character. Thirty percent say they’ll be judged mainly on skin color.
The survey, conducted through live telephone interviews by the independent Connecticut-based university from Aug. 14-19, has a margin of sampling error of plus-or-minus 2.5 percentage points.
But according to the poll, “black and white Virginians are strongly divided on whether we have overcome and whether we shall overcome,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a news release.
Fifty-three percent of white Virginians surveyed say people today are judged on the content of their character and 37 percent say people are judged on the color of their skin. When looking at the future, that outlook jumps to 66 percent of whites saying that children will live in a nation where will be judged by mainly on their character, compared with 23 percent believing they’ll be judged by their skin color.
Seventy-one percent of black Virginians polled say people today are judged on skin color, while 19 percent say people are judged by their character. Fifty-four percent of blacks say that children will live in a nation where will be judged by their skin color, compared with 41 percent believing they’ll be judged by their character.
Overall, the poll showed men and woman, as well as adults in all age groups were optimistic for the future.
Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the King’s signature speech from the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. At least 250,000 people gathered for the 1963 march, which became one of the largest political rallies in U.S. history.
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