January 18, 2016

Revolutionary Martin Luther King


Memphis sanitation workers Elmore Nickelberry, 76, and his son Terrence at the former Lorraine Motel where King was murdered on April 4, 1968. Photo Carl Juste/Miami Herald/Getty Images


Following up on their move last year to reclaim for a new generation his revolutionary legacy from the revisionist white-washed narrative of him, Black Lives Matter activists and many others urge we mark this Martin Luther King Day by remembering the real, radical, complex and anti-war Dr. King that "we were never supposed to know, and certainly never revere" - the one who called out white supremacy, imperialism, police brutality and the link between racism and capitalism; who cited the hypocrisy of a national press that applauded his non-violence in the South but censured his criticism of the violence of the Vietnam War; who insisted that peace without justice is not peace and, like St. Augustine, that "an unjust law is no law at all"; who blasted those who criticized Birmingham's "riots" without acknowledging the conditions and righteous rage that gave rise to them; who initially titled his renowned "I Have A Dream" speech,  "Normalcy, Never Again"; who said the problems of racial and economic inequality could only be solved with the "radical redistribution of political and economic power"; who was "tired of singing." The myth-busting, and the vital work, go on.