It’s that time of year. Happy belated birthday to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
You know my thing about this day. I cringe every time I hear the words, “I have a dream.” It has become a slogan and a misrepresentation of Dr. King’s life and works. It’s an effort to dumb down his legacy. But instead of harping — blah blah blah — I’m just going to put a few quotes here from Dr. King’s later days circa 1967 and 1968.
In middle school, where I was pretty much the one black kid out of 800 or so, we had a presentation about Dr. King. There are a few stories related to this, some I’ve told before. But one guy in my class, very smart and very objective, said that he thought King was a good speaker but didn’t say much. I was like, “What??”
That was practically sacrilege to me at the time. But if all we hear is the one speech, the one phrase … who can blame anyone for thinking King was shallow. Here’s some of what we’re not taught in school:
Why was Dr. King assassinated? Where was he directing his talents, energy and influence at the time? Economic justice. Anti-war. It was then that people began to turn against him.
He had such a rich, inspirational and even controversial legacy. Please. Let’s not forget that. Let’s not let the next generation forget that.