I did not want to be the middle-aged White guy posting the obligatory Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., quotes today in order to honor the holiday named after him while our society continues dishonoring everything he was, he did, and was done to him, in order to earn that holiday.
A lifetime friend, and retired federal law enforcement officer, who is also a Black man born around the same time the Reverend Doctor was assassinated, and raised in the supposed “post Civil-Rights” era, posted this reminder this morning:
“Dr. King was arrested 29 times. He was a protester. He was not a nice man who said nice things from the pulpit. He was a protester. He was also not well liked as people like to assert. At the time of his death he arguably was the most hated man in America, due to him speaking out against the Vietnam war.”
“Two days after his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, FBI Domestic Intelligence Chief William Sullivan wrote in a memo ‘We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security,’. Which culminated in the FBI sending a letter to Dr. King’s home which was opened by his wife, documenting their surveillance of his extramarital affairs and telling him that he was an ‘evil, abnormal beast’ and that he needed to commit suicide with 34 days.“
Now, over half a century later, the same type of people that screamed at and attempted to kill young Black children being integrated into previously all White public schools, the same type of people who screamed and attempted to kill Martin Luther King, Jr, and his supporters, are the ones still fighting against “Black Lives Matter” movements and screaming about their intentional misunderstanding of actual history as “critical race theory.”
In many cases it isn’t just the same type of people, it is the literally the same people.
Republican politicians around the nation have been working hard to eradicate all of the Civil Rights gains that Dr. King helped us to put in place and the voting rights protections that came about as a result of those continuing his work after his death. These same politicians will be very carefully cherry-picking quotes from his speeches and work today — mostly likely out of context quotes that seem to be calling for perpetual non-violent protest of uncompromising oppression — in order to further the white-washing of his legacy.
If you haven’t read Dr. King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” you should start there, before doing anything you think is intended to honor his memory today. Only then will you have a true understanding on his feelings toward the use of both non-violent and violent protest of unjust laws and systems. Only then will you understand what he was truly fighting for and why he was assassinated.
Only then will you understand why we can never be a truly free and democratic society until we reject the nightmare he was protesting and start making the dream he had for us all into our reality.