I fear that the elevation of Dr. King to the pantheon of great Americans who have national birthday celebrations has come at a subtle cost.
I recall how many, in my then lily white hometown, vilified Dr. King in life. They said he was a communist, a philanderer (unfortunately, to some extent, he was that) and all manner of ne'er do well. This was the take of many of "The Greatest Generation" and not a few among my Baby Boomer peers. The bottom line was, few were ready to argue with anything coming out of the mouth of J. Edgar Hoover. Fewer still were ready to share the wealth with people of colour. I was in the minority, in calling for equal rights for all, across the board. Still and all, there was much about equality that I had to learn-and learn by hard experience I did. Many microagression sheddings later, I have ever more respect for Dr. King-and we would have been fortunate, had he lived several more decades at least.
So well spoken and your point absolutely on the target! It sickened me as I listened to some of the Republicans praising him with their mouth but their actions sending a far greater different message. How Dare They!
Thanks for another wonderful messsage. I have wonderful memories of a decade in D.C. seeing you and Dr. King. Fondly, Sue
I think elevating Dr King and providing a holiday to honor him are worthwhile, but I also think he’d want us to remember and teach his message, not just honor what he said. We should never forget the sacrifices made in the name of rights that should be available to all. Sadly, they are not and we all need to work daily to be sure everyone has a voice.
I believe you are right. President Kennedy and his brother were killed for similar reasons. This is what worries me deeply today. The Republican Party has shown it is prepared to go to any ends to achieve their goals. The dark forces behind the GOP are determined and yet to be identified.
I always appreciate your voice and envy what was your front row seat to history
Having lived through the civil rights movement as a child, in the south, I am all too familiar with the divisiveness of which you speak. King was no saint, but a messenger. His message was truth America needed to hear, as painful as that was. Unfortunately, it is a message America still needs to hear, again and again, echoing through time. And we all shot the messenger.
Oh. Such wonderful historical perspective. Thank you.
I listen to him saying that things would change...."SOON"! And I know there is still so much to be done for equality. And we are still fighting for voting rights? Shameful, and angering.
I saw a blurb that said something to the effect that if you weren't fighting for voting rights you should not even be saying his name today. And if you didn't believe that everyone deserves a fair chance you shouldn't be saying his name today. True...
Yours and Nikole Hannah-Jones are the only two tributes to Dr King that I've chosen to read, because you each in your own way honored him without pandering to Black folks like myself. I read his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" again this past Saturday and I recommend it to anyone who wants a comprehensive understanding of his philosophy and his motivation. Thanks for what you're doing Mr Rather.
Revere instead Dr William Barber. He has taken up Calling out Injustice mantle
I read "Remembering Dr. King" right after hearing Glen Youngkin quote Martin Luther King, Jr. to oppose "Critical Race Theory." Apparently, in Governor Youngkin's misuse of Dr. King, Dr. King was all about "the content of people's characters" and would not want anything "divisive" taught. Too many from the right have taken Dr. King out of context and created some kind of safe, plastic person who made one speech about a post-racial world.
I was so grateful to read the Steady post because you reminded us of the reality of Dr. King. He was not a plaster saint. He was a man fighting with all of his being for civil rights and economic equity. He was a radical who threatened the status quo. I am old enough to remember that Dr. King was not admired during his lifetime. He was considered a troublemaker.
Dr. King's work was important and needed ... and is still needed.
Well said - capitalism is undergoing its own decline into hegemonic financialization and the creation of an elite super class of rich, and more and more poor and poverty stricken.
Thank you, Dan, for this realistic perspective on Dr. King. A fitting tribute to the causes he fought for.
I often wonder where we would be today if Dr. King had lived. Losing him put an abrupt halt to the inroads that were being made in racial inequality in our society. Since the victories of desegregation in the 60’s, our country has remained stagnant, and in many cases, moved backwards in race relations. I feel like we have let him down
M.L.K. Jr. was a man of incredible faith, a powerful presence and speaker for justice and civil rights. A man of integrity. We need more leaders and politicians like him in our country and the world today. Our country and world are so troubled today because many of our leaders have lost their integrity, are faithless, speak only on their own behalf, bring about chaos for their own gain, and push their own agendas without any regard for their citizens or the human race.
We need to hit the RESET button on all of it! Thank you, Mr. Rather for this article. It has given me even more inspiration to teach and share with my 4th grade students about
Martin Luther King Jr.