We Shall Overcome

Deep in my heart,
I do believe,
We shall overcome someday.

I sang it a hundred times. But, how sure was I really? How hard did I believe?
And have we overcome?
A lot of us on the left would answer, almost reflexively, “No!” Because there is no cause to be satisfied or complacent about where things stand today. I think about the circle. “Housing segregation–that’s because of jobs. Job inequality–that’s because of education. Education inequality–that’s because of housing.”
We put a lot of weight on the promise of education, even though it seemed intolerably distant and indirect. And it has yet to be redeemed.
I know that the social status and respect earned by people like Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Halle Berry is in no way typical of America at large. But we still can learn a lot from them, even as paradigms.
I think we must do honor to the truth of how despicable and ugly this thing actually was. All of these things, heartbreakingly, had relevance within my lifetime:
They all look alike to me. (Who? Michael Jordan and Bill Cosby?)
The character of the doctor just happened to be black.
Would you want your sister to marry one?
Do you think you could kiss a Negro?
So, Yes. For a moment I can feel Yes. We have overcome a lot.