To paraphrase the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, Donald Trump wrote a promissory note during his presidential campaign to the nation's African American community.

In doing so, the former casino owner gambled, offering himself up as a champion for a community he'd had little interaction with.

"What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?" he liked to ask during stump speeches in which he described inner cities as plagued by Democratic rule, bad schools, high crime, and low employment.

"I will fix it," Trump told an audience in Charlotte, N.C., in August. "This means so much to me, and I will work as hard as I can to bring new opportunity to places in our country which have not known opportunity in a very long time."

Now that he is four days away from being inaugurated, some African Americans will seek to cash the check dangled before their eyes during the campaign.

But will they get the prosperity Trump promised or what King in his 1963 speech accused America of having passed to blacks for generations: a bad check returned for "insufficient funds"?

On Capitol Hill, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have taken a defensive stance against the incoming president - similar to the greeting President Obama got in 2009 from the Republican Party and its Tea Party delegation.

Eddie Glaude Jr., chairman of Princeton University's Center for African American Studies, isn't holding out hope that Trump will be true to his word.

"Rhetoric is not enough," said Glaude, who noted that he believes President Obama's soaring words also outstripped his deeds.

"Trump can say all day that he wants to be the president of all America, that he's going to unify, that he's going to bring jobs," Glaude said. "What we need to do is look at the appointments, look at the policy proposals and make a substantive judgment whether or not his way of governing will harm the most vulnerable in our community, and then mobilize on their behalf."

Based on some of his cabinet nominees, Trump has gotten off to a bad start with blacks, according to Glaude.

Among those he called problematic are Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), education nominee Betsy DeVos, labor nominee Andy Puzder, and Housing and Urban Development nominee Ben Carson.

"As they say, personnel equals policy," Glaude said. "Those nominations are an indication of how [Trump] will actually govern."

Tavis Smiley, the political commentator and PBS talk show host, said given that Trump has already reneged on key pledges made to his supporters, it's unlikely he'll honor his commitment to the black community.

But that must not stop blacks from demanding that Trump keep his word, said Smiley, who has been a frequent critic of President Obama's.

"We have to hold [Trump] accountable for those things that he did say that he was going to do, and we have to push him on those things that we know are in our best interest and we have to challenge him and protest him when he begins to push an agenda that is antithetical to the best interest to black people," Smiley said.

While Trump won only 8 percent of the black vote in November, that bested the 6 percent captured by 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Among Trump's newest supporters in black America are retired football greats Jim Brown and Ray Lewis - who visited Trump Tower after the election - and lifelong Republican Calvin Tucker, chairman of the Pennsylvania-Philadelphia Black Republican Council.

"The one thing I said to Trump in our roundtable discussion is that he's the first Republican in three election cycles to stand up in the public arena and talk about economic development in the African American community," Tucker said.

Tucker was among a small, handpicked group of blacks who met with Trump at a North Philadelphia church during the summer while pro- and anti-Trump protesters clashed outside on the streets.

Tucker, the only black delegate out of 71 delegates from Pennsylvania at last year's Republican National Convention, said Trump's nontraditional approach to solving the nation's problems is needed right now.

"What he did in his private life - creating jobs, creating opportunities, creating entrepreneurship around this country, and in fact around this world - if he can translate 10 percent of that . . . into his public life, cities are going to benefit, states are going to benefit," Tucker said.

Smiley was more skeptical. "Created jobs at whose expense? Created jobs for whom?" he asked.

"All the questions that were raised about the people who didn't get paid, all the bankruptcies that he filed, etc. . . . It's just so sloppy," Smiley said.

In Charlotte, Trump told a campaign audience in October that minorities often have been pawns used and discarded by traditional politicians.

"We keep electing the same people over and over and over," he said. "And they keep coming back to the African American community and the Hispanic community and they keep talking about what they're going to do, but they don't do it."

Although the mainstream media spent little time analyzing that speech during the last swirling weeks of the campaign, it contained the candidate's bombshell promises to spend big capital in the nation's inner cites.

"Today I want to talk about how to grow the African American middle class, and to provide a new deal for black America," Trump offered.

That deal, he said, is rooted in three priorities: safe communities, great education, and high-paying jobs.

"Here is the promise I make to you," continued the man whose critics accuse him of cozying up to white supremacists.

"Whether you vote for me or not, I will be your greatest champion. I have no special interest, I take no orders from donors or lobbyists - I work for you, and only you," Trump had said.

An email to Trump press secretary Sean Spicer, seeking an update on the president-elect's plans for black America, was not returned.

Smiley said he suspects that black America will need to be vigilant and vocal under a Trump presidency.

"Running our government and being a corporate titan are two very different jobs," Smiley said. "I'm just not sure that he's the most qualified person to do what he has been elected to do. But that's what we're up against, and why we have to agitate, agitate, agitate."

215-854-4172@mensahdean