Today we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK dedicated his life to improving the world, and his legacy has inspired many to continue to make the world a better place through a national day of service (nationalservice). Happy #MLKDay!
MLK was told that he was “making it about race,” he was too young and impatient and scaring away allies and that he was “the real racist.” American police & media told MLK that if only these blacks would behave differently, THEN they’d be worthy of full protection under the law. MLK dedicated himself to the resistance of injustice. The separatism & extrajudicial beatings & murders of his day were not on black & white posters set to music, they were in color, in real-time; real lives destroyed & discarded. It was not universally identified as injustice. In fact, it was relentlessly excused, explained & justified away by the same spectrum of “nice Americans” that haunt progress today. His principled, uncompromising voice told the world that Black lives are in fact lives & therefore they matter. Then he was ridiculed for it by “good Americans.” Then beaten, bombed, stabbed, jailed, slandered, lampooned as a monkey by “satirists” & when he didn’t bow, he was shot to death in broad daylight. Surrounded by cameras and “he had it coming.” He wore a suit, had a doctorate, no tattoos or gold & far more articulate than those pretending any of that makes us more or less human.
What heinous excuses & jokes would have littered twitter the day MLK was killed?
Then comes the softening of blows, and focus, in death. The sterilizing and controlled reentry. The obedient smile. We #ReclaimMLK, as the human being: The fearless leader of a movement to disrupt real physical, social & psychological oppression. (Which at the time, was precisely what America stood for & shouted down upon millions of it’s most hardworking, longstanding citizenry.) MLK was decidedly NOT this gift shop souvenir being sold to us by revisionist historians & worshippers of convenience. #ReclaimMLK / Wanna be overseers, life-long house guests & self-service industrialists from sea to shining sea tried to crush MLK then, & us now. #OhWell / And just as is happening now, the reflection in the mirror MLK held, inspired a current of love & commitment that cannot be extinguished. In honoring MLK we honor the women & men, of all colors, queer, straight, rich & poor, who lifted him up, & themselves in the process. Keeping looking & listening, keep asking, keep thinking, keep writing, keep working, keep talking, keep trying & falling. Keep getting up.