this day in 1929, the future civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Born as Martin King, he and his father
changed their names in honour of Protestant reformer Martin Luther. King
entered the ministry in his twenties and first came to national
attention for his leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. This
event is considered by many to be the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement,
which saw a national struggle to end discrimination against African-Americans. King was one of many leaders, but became the face of
the movement for his nonviolent tactics and powerful oratory. In 1963,
during the March on Washington, King delivered the crowning speech of
the movement - the ‘I have a dream’ speech. Beyond his role in combating
racial inequality, King also focused on tackling poverty and advocating
peace, especially during the Vietnam War. On April 4th 1968, King was
shot and killed by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee. He lived to see
the legislative achievements of the movement - the 1964 Civil Rights
Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act - but tragically was unable to continue
the push for full equality. The movement King set in motion continues to
be fought today; the United States is still not a completely equal
society and systemic discrimination persists. However, thanks to Martin
Luther King, America is closer to fulfilling King’s dream of a truly
free and equal society. Since 1986, a national Martin Luther King Day is
celebrated on the third Monday in January.
Daily reminder that on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we should all challenge everyone who misuses MLK’s legacy to proclaim that racial strife is over.
We should challenge those who promote nonviolence only as a means to defang modern social movements.
We should challenge those who use MLK’s name as an excuse to silence resistance.
We should challenge those who believe that a protest should be passive in order to gain legitimacy.
We should challenge those who proclaim that MLK ended racism.
We should challenge those who believe that the United States government loved MLK or would continue to love him if he were alive and in action today. If that were the case, the United States wouldn’t send him suicide letters or assassinate him.
We should challenge the idea that MLK’s only goal was to gain civil rights.
We should challenge the idea that MLK was the only activist that mattered and that only nonviolence is the route to political and social change.
And most importantly, we should challengethe diet interpretation of MLK that had nothing critical to say about the pro-white, patriarchal, capitalist state we live in.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!”
- Martin Luther King Jr.,
delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
my six year old:
do you know who Martin Luther King Jr is?
no. who is he?
Martin Luther King Jr was the sweetest man ever. He was brown. Not like us, we're white. And back a long time ago, the brown adults and even the kids (completely appalled), had to do all the work. And when the brown kids got to play on the playground after they were done work, they couldn't play with the white kids.
that's not nice.
no, it isn't. and Martin Luther King said that the brown kids and the white kids should be able to play together bc we should love each other no matter what. As long as we're all good people, we're the same people.
oh, wow. what happened to him?
son, tearing up:
he was shooted and killed. He died bc not everyone knew that he was the sweetest man in the world. Some people thought that his good was their bad.
what do you think?
I really, really hope that one day we get a new sweet boy or girl like him that will make the world even better.
Me, speechless by this level of emotion and understanding in a 6 year old:
Just a quick video talking about the co-opting of MLK’s activism in order to justify inaction and keeping the status quo. Please think about what MLK is actually saying and educate yourself on his actual writings and beliefs rather than spouting the same distilled and white-washed out-of-context quotes :)