The Dream King: How the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Is Being Fulfilled to Heal Racism in America by Will Ford and Matt Lockett. Ed. Peggy Scolaro. Newtype, 2018.
Nearly three years ago, Peggy Scolaro attended a conference where she heard the riveting story of two speakers deeply committed to racial reconciliation in America, a life-long passion of hers and a theme she has incorporated into her composition and literature classes for twenty-two years. After the conference, she reached out on Facebook to one of the speakers, and their friendship began. That summer one of the speakers asked her to "look over" an article he was working on, and, after reading her edits, called to ask if she had ever edited a book before. She replied, "No, but I've edited thousands of student essays and research papers for more than 20 years; does that count?" And so, began her role as an editor.
The Dream King is the true story of these two men, Matt Lockett (white) and Will Ford (African American), both ministers from different parts of the country who met at a prayer event at the Lincoln Memorial in 2005; they came in response to unrelated dreams about social justice and forged a deep friendship that grew into brotherhood. They began to speak together at conferences across the country, encouraging racial unity and healing in America. Only after ten years, through continued research, did they make the startling discovery that almost 200 years earlier, near Appomattox, Virginia, Matt's family had been the owners of Will's family. All those years ago, Will's enslaved ancestors had gathered nightly inside a barn and prayed in secret under an over-turned cast iron kettle that one day their children and grandchildren would be free; the kettle was passed down through the generations from the first freed woman in the family, and now belongs to Will himself-- four generations later. Even further back in history, Matt's great-great-grandfather had been a Circuit Rider preacher and abolitionist, working to free the slaves. Yet another astonishing discovery in their research revealed that the last shots of the Civil War were fired in the front yard of Matt's ancestors, where the family tended the injuries of wounded soldiers, the blood of soldiers from the north and south seeping into the floorboards of the Lockett family home at Sailor's Creek, Virginia, the bullet-riddled house now preserved as an historical landmark. The words of Dr. King run as a stirring subtext to this story. As he declared in his iconic I Have a Dream speech, "I have a dream that one day the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will sit down at the table of brotherhood." Will and Matt are the embodiment of their ancestors' prayers and Dr. King's prophetic dream.
The Dream King was pre-released in a Facebook live event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. Ironically, in an unwitting decision by the publisher, the full release of the book came out on August 28, 2018, fifty-five years after Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech. The book is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble in both paperback, Kindle, and Nook, as well as from DreamStreamCompany.com.
October 21, 2018