On Monday, we observe the Martin Luther King holiday, but today is the anniversary of his birth. Today, I can say that I do not agree with the direction of some of his politics that went beyond fighting for equal rights for blacks and other minorities who experienced legal racial discrimination. But the fact that he non violently fought and put his life on the line for the civil rights of others will never diminish in my heart. With the age and a couple of other update tweaks, the following is my 2007 salute to Dr. King blog post from my former blog.
My recollection of Dr. Martin Luther King who would have turn 82 today was one of taking a courageous stand against day by day racism and legal segregation. I remember the media reports of him spending time in jail for peaceful protests for rights for people of color that are so easily acquired today. I remember watching on TV former President Harry Truman calling Dr. King a trouble maker. When reporters reminded him that Dr. King had been given the Nobel Peace Prize, former President Truman’s response was, “I did not give it to him.” My mother and grandmother who were also watching TV with me were appalled at former President Truman’s remarks.
I remember various white people all over the country who were Democrats and Republicans also expressing that Dr King and other civil rights leaders both white and black were trouble makers. Some expressed as did the late Senator Barry Goldwater (as seen in the HBO documentary on him) that Blacks wanted their rights too fast and that they would have to wait. What was really being said is that yes we have denied you rights as citizens, which we enjoy, but you must wait until we are ready to do the right thing. Dr. King’s peaceful actions said NO in high volumes. I wonder if people who thought like the late Senator Goldwater, realized how wrong they were.
Martin Luther King was assassinated in the spring of my junior year in high school. On that day my father’s co-worker had a bit of a personal connection. His co-worker’s son in-law assaulted a passenger on a Philly bus. He assaulted the passenger for saying that Dr. King had died with the garbage. From a legal criminal standpoint, he came to regret assaulting that passenger. Dr. King was in Memphis Tennessee when he was assassinated to support sanitation workers’ protest of low wages and poor working conditions.
Now, I do believe Dr. King would not be happy today. I agree with Aaron McGruder‘s creation (which is documented in Juan William’s book, Enough) of an Older Dr. King on his Cartoon Network show The Boondocks. Dr. King is in a Church looking out at high school dropouts, gangsta rappers in fistfights, young teenage mothers dressing scantily. He can hear them calling each other the “N” word. This older version of Dr. King looks out and says, ‘Is this it? This is what I got all those a-whippings for?”
We have to do better by his legacy