Commemorating the anniversary of the March and Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" Speech

Poll: Virginians Split on If MLK's Dream Realized

Monday, Aug 26, 2013  |  Updated 7:54 AM EDT
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Poll: Virginians Split on If MLK's Dream Realized

AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: (FILES) US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., waves to supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 28 August, 1963, on The Mall in Washington, DC, during the "March on Washington" where King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. 04 April, 2005 marks the 37th anniversary of the assassination of King, who was shot 04 April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray confessed to shooting King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. King's killing sent shock waves through American society at the time, and is still regarded as a landmark event in recent US history. AFP PHOTO/FILES (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

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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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