Celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. resurrects a feeling of deep sadness in my heart, for if Dr. King were alive today he would surely be filled with mixed emotions about the status of the black American.

He would see black teachers in classrooms, black businessmen in office buildings, black entertainers on TV and movie screens, black astronauts in the space shuttle and black athletes on the playing field. Yet as many things change, many things sadly remain the same.

In too many cities and towns Dr. King would still see segregated neighborhoods and schools leading to violent consequences for those daring to cross the borders. He would still hear ugly racial language from the poorest of people to the richest of people and ranging throughout the age spectrum. He would still see gross discrimination throughout the working society. He would still see great poverty and unemployment among the black communities, and if he looked closely he might even see another Rosa Parks struggling to keep her seat on a bus.

Prejudice is an ugly, unnatural disease which must be taught by those with misguided ideals. Unfortunately, this disease still runs rampant throughout our society and apparently is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to cure. Indeed, if Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today his observations would only lead him to declare, "I still have a dream."

GLENN CREAMER Alexandria