PRINCETON, N.J., Aug. 26 (UPI) — Half a century after Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed “I have a dream,” half of U.S. residents say his dream has been achieved, a poll Friday indicated.
The survey by the Gallup Organization found 51 percent say the dream of racial equality has been achieved and 74 percent say there has been major progress.
Asked to rate King on a scale from 5-plus to 5-minus, 94 percent gave him a positive rating. More than two-thirds, 69 percent, gave him a positive 4 or 5 rating.
During King’s lifetime, he was a far more polarizing figure. In 1966, when he had become a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War, 63 percent viewed him negatively and 33 percent positively.
Views of King are still split along racial lines with 95 percent of blacks giving him one of the highest two ratings compared to 65 percent of whites.
A memorial to King had been scheduled to be dedicated Sunday, the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and the “I have a dream” speech. The monument on the National Mall is the first to a non-president and to a black. The dedication was postponed until at least next month because of Hurricane Irene.
Gallup surveyed 1,319 adults by telephone Aug. 4-7. The margin of error is 4 percentage points for the entire sample.