Poll: More Than Half of Americans Believe King’s Dream Has Been Fulfilled

Just over half of Americans polled say Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of racial equality has been fulfilled.

By Jorge Rivas Aug 19, 2011

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found that more than half of Americans believe Martin Luther King’s dream of racial equality has been fulfilled.

On the heels of the 48th anniversary of of King’s "I Have a Dream" speech at the 1963 March on Washington, USA Today asked its readers how much progress the country has made toward making King’s dreams a reality.

While all groups surveyed agree there’s been major progress, the poll found whites think blacks have it a lot easier.

The poll found that eight in ten whites say blacks have an equal chance in their community to get any kind of job for which they are qualified, while six in ten African Americans say job discrimination persists.

Unemployment among African Americans is nearly twice that of the national rate. Six in 10 black Americans say the government should take a major role in trying to improve the social and economic position of blacks and other people of color. Just one in five whites agree.

In a national survey conducted by Colorlines.com’s publisher, the Applied Research Center, we found whites were more likely to blame individual initiative alone for their social and economic standings, while African Americans in particular were more likely to point to race as at least part of the problem.

The USA Today poll also found 44 percent of whites and 55 percent of blacks say race relations will always be a problem.