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In 2013, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March that will take place this Saturday, I want everyone to listen for a moment as I throw out some terms:

Two-term Black president

Black Attorney General

Black mayors and governors

Black CEOs

Black billionaires

Ok, you got those, right? Now I’m going to throw out some more:

Stop and Frisk

Stand Your Ground

Mandatory minimums

Voting rights rollback

High stakes standardized testing

Big Brother is watching

Well, progress is a mixed bag isn’t it? On one hand, we have some extraordinary symbols of civil rights progress.

On the other, we are faced with some very daunting challenges that cause us pause as we assess our status, rights and treatment in this country as African-Americans.

So, with Saturday approaching, how do we put all of this―the good, the bad and the ugly―in perspective? Are we winning, or is it a classic case of ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same?’

Well, personally, I believe we have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for, a half-century later, despite ongoing headlines to the contrary.

Frederick Douglass once wisely said, “Without struggle, there is no progress” In other words, the two go hand-in-hand and we shouldn’t expect one without the other, life is a constant negotiation between positive and negative, light and dark, yin and yang and we have to constantly strive for our own sense of balance and inner peace within this eternal dialectic.

It’s all about how we look at it, even with what sometimes seems like setbacks to our forward motion… It’s just as important for our progress to maintain a healthy and positive perspective on how far we have come… No good ever came from negative thinking or thoughts of despair.

If nothing else, how we look at our world is one thing we can control and I choose to celebrate this momentous anniversary with gratitude at the same time as I recognize our challenges, and how far we have yet to go.

I’ll close with this from the 1998 Disney movie Mulan that speaks both to the challenge and the ultimate outcome of our human quest for progress. It simply says:

The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.


I’m going to talk more about the march on Roundtable with Stephanie Robinson Check it out on

Roundtable with Stephanie Robinson On-Demand                                                                                                                    Have you missed popular radio commentator from the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Stephanie Robinson, on her new Internet radio show? Or have you loved Roundtable with Stephanie Robinson so much that you want to listen to all the episodes again? Either way, you are in luck! After they air live, you can access all Roundtable with Stephanie Robinson episodes on-demand at Visit the link to listen to past episodes on hot and compelling topics like the Politics of ABC’s hit TV series Scandal, The Zimmerman Trial, The Boston Marathon Bombing, and much more to come. It’s time to gather round Robinson’s Roundtable!

50 Years Later  was originally published on