Les Patterson’s Monday Morning Boost: Rise up for the Dream

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    Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. Coalhouse Walker shared the same dream years earlier.

     

    Brought to life in the musical “Ragtime,” Coalhouse is an African American pursing his career as a ragtime pianist in New York City. Set in the foundational years of the 20th Century, Coalhouse can see the “Wheels of a Dream” turning for him and his beloved Sarah.

     

    Yes, the wheels are turning for us, girl.

    And the times are starting to roll.

    Any man can get where he wants to

    If he’s got some fire in his soul.

     

    But his dream is not to be realized. Racial tensions lead to a conflict with Will Conklin and the volunteer fire squad who trash and destroy his brand new Model T car, rolling it into a lake. Coalhouse seeks redress through the judicial system but none is not to be found. Even Sarah seeks to find justice on his behalf. But due to the color of her black skin, she is racially profiled at a campaign rally, mistaken for a would-be assassin, and beaten to death by the Secret Service.

     

    Sarah’s death destroys Coalhouse’s once optimistic views and he seeks to get justice on his own terms. Using fire as his weapon, Coalhouse terrorizes the city demanding his car be returned and Will Conklin be delivered into his hands. Though Booker T. Washington, as written into the musical, condemns Coalhouse’s actions, scores of angry young men are fired up and rally to his cause.

    As Elisa and I watched last week the “Ragtime” story majestically performed by the Utah Festival Opera Company, our hearts were touched by the resonating timeliness of the message. Racial tensions that have existed since the dawn of our country, often manifested by violence, have once again challenged the Dream.

     

    I do not know if the Dream of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” will ever be realized. Racism, injustice, brutality, and inequality are still alive in every corner and throughout our beautiful country.

     

    Yet I know we can each do more to make a difference. We can find commonality, we can embrace differences, and we can stand together in faith and hope. Then maybe one day, just maybe, the rest of Coalhouse’s Dream will be brought to pass.

     

    We’ll see justice, Sarah,

    And plenty of men

    Who will stand up

    And give us our due.

    Oh, Sarah, it’s more that promises.

    Sarah, it must be true.

    A country that let’s a man like me

    Own a car, raise a child, build a life with you...

     

    You have a voice. It counts. Rise up and share it.

     

    Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.            

     

    Les Patterson

     

    p.s. Take 15 minutes today to be inspired by the Dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coalhouse Walker.

     

    Les Patterson loves to share stories and the “Monday Morning Boost” is his way of sharing a story or two with family, friends, and clients. Les believes every person, business and organization has a story worth sharing. Since 1997 he has enjoyed finding compelling ways to share those stories through writing and producing radio commercials at the Cache Valley Media Group. Discover how he can help tell your story at www.CacheValleyMediaGroup.com. Feedback and comments are welcome at les@cvradio.com. ©2016, Les Patterson. All Rights Reserved.