SWO|Thoughts

Thoughts on MLK Day

Today we are supposed to honor the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — but so much of what’s talked about throughout the year ignores who King really was.

White America, until very recently, hated MLK. Even if we set those polls aside, what is absolutely undeniable is how despised MLK was by White America during his lifetime. We seem to forget that King did not die in old age having seen the change he worked for. He was murdered after countless attempts by powers in and out of the government to get rid of him.

America hated & murdered MLK.

Throughout the year, people cherry pick famous quotes from King to justify positions & arguments that King himself explicitly fought against. If you reduce King to a paragraph in a bad middle school U.S. History textbook, you lose everything that made him the seminal figure he was. King was strategic, disruptive, non-violent, compassionate, radical, and so many things we almost never acknowledge.

King is so often invoked to say “MLK would be rolling in his grave” if he saw the Ferguson protests or the uprising in Baltimore, or this or that.

Rolling in his grave, huh? The same grave he was lowered into after being murdered for the radical, revolutionary work he did?

White folks, we should not be silent when we see or hear King’s legacy being white washed & pacified into what it never was. Never let ourselves be the white moderate. (If you don’t know what that refers to, that’s ok. Read about it.)

Don’t participate in this. Don’t let it slide. Read more than the memes with his quotes. Read what he wrote. Watch his speeches in full. And Think.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Angela
    January 17, 2017 at 3:55 am

    Reading this left me a little speechless on its accuracy, people love to cherry pick MLK’s quotes and use them as a justification for further oppression. I applaud your use of syntax to emphasise that MLK did not die at an old age viewing the fruits of his advocacy as many would like to believe but instead that he was in fact assassinated. I once read somewhere that History is not made by the shakers and powerful people but by the everyday decisions of the many, I think that MLK showcases that and that we shouldn’t need just one day to value, respect him and what he stood for but constantly be working towards a future that includes all regardless of race. Your thoughts are very interesting and can’t wait to hear more in the oncoming future. Thanks for all you do!

  • Reply
    Darren Keane Storm
    January 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Really, read what he wrote and watch his speeches. MLK was one of a kind. He believed in God. And his faith in God inspires. It seems that today it is impossible to find any public person who believes in God as wholeheartedly as he did.

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