Has MLK’s dream been realized? In Virginia, blacks and whites are split

Updated
Supporters listen to U.S. President Barack Obama speaking at a campaign event at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Virginia, August 2, 2012.
Supporters listen to U.S. President Barack Obama speaking at a campaign event at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Virginia, August 2, 2012.
Larry Downing/Reuters

As Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech”, a new Quinnipiac University Poll shows that Virginians are divided along racial lines about whether that famous dream has been realized.

“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” King told the crowd that day.

And among white Virginians, 53% say people today are judged on the content of their character, while 37% say they are judged on the color of their skin. But among black Virginians, just 19% say people are judged on character, while 71% say skin color.

“Black and white Virginians are strongly divided on whether we have overcome and whether we shall overcome,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in the polling data.

But Virginians are optimistic about the future. Sixty percent—including 41% of blacks—believe when it comes to their children’s world everyone will be judged on the content of their character, compared to 30% who say people will still be judged on their skin color.

In all, 45% of Virginians polled say people today are judged mainly on the color of their skin, while 44% say people are judged on the content of their character.

Has MLK's dream been realized? In Virginia, blacks and whites are split

Updated