In his lifetime, Martin Luther King Jr. was a hated and feared radical, with reason. Many of those who honor him today today were, or would have been, violently against him had he lived.
J. Edgar Hoover regarded him as a dangerous Communist, much as Hoover’s successors regard the #BlackLivesMatter movement today.
He is remembered today by many as a nice man who thought that people should be judged as individuals and not by race, and that black people should not engage in violent protest. He is honored by the kind of people whom he fought in his lifetime.
What’s forgotten is his call for radical social and political change, his advocacy of labor rights and his unconditional opposition to war.
He advocated economic justice as well as civil rights. and spoke almost as often in union halls as in churches. His “I Have a Dream” speech was given at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs (my emphasis) and Freedom. Dr. King was murdered in Memphis, Tenn., while on a mission to support striking garbage collectors.
He turned against President Lyndon Johnson, the greatest presidential champion of civil rights since President Grant, because he could not be silent in the face of war and massing killing in Vietnam.
The best way to honor Dr. King is to oppose the things that he opposed and to do the things that he did.
Obama’s State of the Union should not have invoked Dr. King. by George Payne, founder of Gandhi Earthkeepers International. A critique of President Obama’s State of the Union address and its references to Dr. King. If your policy is based on drone strikes, special ops raids and assassinations, you should not talk about unconditional love and the power of unarmed truth.
What To the Black American Is Martin Luther King Jr. Day? by Chris LeBron in the New York Times.
Restoring King: There Is No Figure in Recent History Whose Memory Is More Distorted Than Martin Luther King Jr. by Thomas Sugrue for Jacobin.
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King Jr., J. Edgar Hoover and Thurgood Marshall by Peter Lee for China Matters. How the FBI treated Dr. King as a threat.
Five Studies That Prove Racism Is Worse Than We Think by the staff of Cracked.com. Black Americans are still judged by the color of their skins and not the content of their characters.