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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