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The world stands on the eve of history. On Tuesday, January 20th Barack Obama, the first African-American president, will be inaugurated as the forty-forth president of the US.

This day comes eighty years after the birth of Martin Luther King Jr, the most prominent leader in the American civil rights movement.

In 1963, Dr Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech electrified the almost quarter of a million people, gathered protest and led to things like the end of racial segregation in schools.

Four decades later a junior senator from Illinois did the same at the Democratic national convention.

And four years later when Barack Obama decided to run for president, though racial segregation was a thing of the past, the election of an African-American man seemed like the furthest thing from reality.

This fact did not escape Barack Obama and in a speech in March 2008 he addressed not being able to change, or erase black white racial tensions with his candidacy, but he did want to continue the journey begun decades earlier.

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Now that America has its first black president do you think the Americans will be able to put their past of racial inequalities behind them?

Has Obama fulfilled Martin Luther King's dream? And can centuries of institutionalized racism truly ever be eradicated?

Joining the Riz Khan on Monday will be William and Janet Langhard Cohen.

William Cohen served as secretary of defence under president Clinton from 1997-2001 and his wife Janet Langhart Cohen is president and CEO of Langhart communications.

Together they are the authors of Love in Black and White, a memoir about race, religion, and the bonds Langhart and Cohen share over similar life circumstances and backgrounds.

This episode of the Riz Khan show aired from Monday, January 19, 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera