King’s Legacy Betrayed

The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated 50 years ago today, has been cynically exploited by corporate and political leaders who care more for the needs of their rich donors than black constituents, comments Margaret Kimberley.

By Margaret Kimberley  Special to Consortium News

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the preeminent leader of the black liberation movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Millions of people engaged in the struggle against America’s shameful apartheid system but King was the most influential. His actions are remembered, his words are quoted by activists, politicians, and pundits. His birthday is a national holiday. Only the worst and most retrograde racists dare to speak ill of King.

But the lionizing is mostly a sham. In fact there are very few people who remember the importance of what King said, what he did or why and how they should replicate his work. His legacy has been subverted and is now understood only by the most conscious students of history.

Nothing illustrated this state of affairs more clearly than the use of King’s words in a Ram truck commercial broadcast during the 2018 Super Bowl football championship. Viewers were told that Ram trucks are “built to serve.”

The voice over is provided by King himself speaking exactly 50 years earlier, on February 4, 1968. The Drum Major Instinct sermon was a call to reject the ego driven desire for attention in favor of working for more altruistic pursuits. “If you want to say that I was a drum major say that I was a drum major for justice.”

The commercial’s creators deliberately ignored the portion of the sermon in which King derided the influence of advertising. He even mentioned vehicle advertising specifically. He warned that “gentleman of massive verbal persuasion” can influence people to act against their own interests. “In order to make your neighbors envious you must drive this type of car.”

A Nation Going Backwards

Corporate interests are not alone in pretending to honor King while actually attacking him. King’s legacy is severely diminished because it has been used by cynical individuals for corrupt purposes. As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of his assassination we see a nation that has moved backwards on nearly every front. Legalized discrimination was eliminated but powerful forces undermined progress and America in 2018 is devoid of the change that King fought to make real.

Civil rights leader Andrew Young (L) and others standing on balcony of Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968 pointing in direction of assailant after assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who is lying at their feet. Joseph Louw—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Much of the blame lies at the feet of the Democratic Party, who have an undeserved reputation for enacting progressive policies. In reality, Democrats actively targeted black people for joblessness, poverty, imprisonment and disenfranchisement. Democrats became the party of corporate interests and aligned themselves with every neoliberal initiative. They forsook the union movement, working hand in hand with finance capitalists to take living wage jobs out of the country. Bill Clinton oversaw the end of public assistance as a right, destroying what Franklin Roosevelt enacted 60 years earlier. He built on the work of Ronald Reagan and massively increased the prison population.

Barack Obama offered a “grand bargain” of austerity to Republicans and continued the George W. Bush policy of tax cuts for the wealthiest. The banks which created the 2008 financial collapse were rewarded with huge bailouts of public funds. Black people ended up losing the small bit of wealth they held before the crash and now lead only in the negative measurements of quality of life.

Democrats destroy public education through charter schools and refuse to raise the minimum wage even when they control Congress and have the power to act. They were never the party of peace and they are now most outspoken in encouraging an anti-Russian resumption of the Cold War and supporting imperialist interventions.

After the legislative victories of the 1960s black Americans were ignored, subjugated or co-opted. It is true that there are thousands of black elected officials, when in King’s day there were hardly any. But this political class is a traitorous one and works for its own benefit, its patrons in corporate America and the civil rights organizations that are subsidiaries of the Democratic Party. The black political class went along with every sordid deal that Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama pursued. Their positions are secure but the rest of black America is anything but.

Prison Population Explodes

A glaring example is the enormous increase in incarceration rates. When Martin Luther King was alive there were only 300,000 incarcerated Americans. There are now more than 2 million. The exponential increase is not coincidental. Mass incarceration was a direct reaction to the freedom movement. Segregation put black people under physical control and the system devised new ways to secure the same result when it ended.

Black men became the face of drug dealing, or deadbeat fatherhood or anything else that the press and politicians told white Americans to fear and hate. The ripple effect is terrible and damages family life, the ability to earn a living and even to vote. In 48 states felons either lose the franchise permanently or are prevented from voting until all supervision is lifted. In Florida alone 1.5 million people cannot vote because of past convictions. A recent court case declared this rule unconstitutional and if a November 2018 ballot measure passes they may have their voting rights restored. That will be a happy result but there are 5 million more Americans, disproportionately black, who elsewhere lose the ability to vote due to criminal convictions.

Until incarceration becomes a mass movement, political issue, the Voting Rights Act amounts to very little. Actually the act already amounts to little because the Supreme Court nullified its most important provisions requiring southern states to seek permission before changing voting rules. The Democrats are less concerned with getting out the vote than in making their wealthy patrons happy and protecting the Senate majority and federal judiciary they claim is so important.

Of course the Democrats are in a bind. They don’t want to get out the vote because that would mean fighting for the issues that the masses need addressed. The wishes of wealthy, corporate America don’t dovetail with those of working people. Fat cat funders don’t want an increased minimum wage. Getting out the vote would mean biting the hand that feeds. So the people be damned.

King’s Challenge to Militarism Defied

King began his fight for the particular needs of black people in a uniquely oppressive system. As years went by he also opposed the economic system itself and the war in Vietnam. In 2017 the Democrats, including most Congressional Black Caucus members, went along with Donald Trump’s request for a 10% increase of an already huge military budget. They will go through the pretense of complaining when that increase inevitably restricts federal spending for social needs, but they are connivers who hope we miss their charade.

Martin Luther King Jr. meeting with President Lyndon Johnson at the White House in 1966.

The liberation movement succeeded against great odds. Most black people then as now lived in the southern states and could not vote. Yet their coordinated mass action won them the franchise anyway. That lesson must not be forgotten as the juggernaut of neoliberal plots threatens everyone.

Every major American city is undergoing an onslaught of gentrification which displaces millions of black people at the whim of finance capital. The politicians who will speak in praise of King today do nothing to stop them. In fact they depend upon their largesse to stay in office.

They do nothing to stop the continued terror of billionaire rule. Instead they assist the richest in grabbing more and more. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos this year became the richest person on the planet. His plans for a new Amazon HQ could be funded entirely by his corporation. Instead cities across the country scramble to give away property and tax dollars to help fund the race to the bottom for workers.

Hollow Admiration

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. should be remembered for his tremendous courage in speaking out against the power of money and the military industrial complex. The poseurs who go along to get along should be silent today. The past 50 years have been so tragic because the hard won victories were deliberately destroyed.

King inspired the people to fight for their needs. He did so when the New York Times and Washington Post vilified him. He spoke against the Vietnam war when his compatriots feared angering Lyndon Johnson. The mass action movement that he led forced LBJ to act when he didn’t want to. If politicians act on behalf of the people it is never because they have the right motives.

That is what we must remember about King. The admiration is hollow unless we do as he and millions of others did and commit ourselves to challenging the system. That will mean openly and loudly denouncing the people committed to destroying what they worked and died to achieve. The worst traitors are the most prominent and well respected. But the respect is undeserved and quite dangerous. The night before he was killed King spoke of getting to the promised land. That won’t happen until the scoundrels are named and opposed. Honoring King’s legacy demands that we do just that.


Margaret Kimberley is Editor and Senior Columnist at Black Agenda Report. Ms. Kimberley serves on the Administrative Committee of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), the Coordinating Committee of Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) and the Advisory Board of She is writing a book about racism and the American presidency. She is a graduate of Williams College and lives in New York City.


48 comments for “King’s Legacy Betrayed

  1. April 12, 2018 at 20:06

    Also from BAR:

    “Against False Conflation: JFK, MLK, and the Triple Evils” by Paul Street

  2. nole_89
    April 9, 2018 at 16:03

    Margaret article is exactly the type of truth that can not only unite black people, but ALL people. If the civil rights leaders of today spoke this kind of truth then we would all get behind it, black, white, Hispanic, blue collar, white collar, etc. Basically everyone except the oligarchs.

  3. DHFabian
    April 5, 2018 at 19:03

    What has largely been erased from the story of Martin Luther King Jr. is his considerable record of advocacy for the poor. (King actually had quite a lot to say about US capitalism, which one won’t hear recited at annual MLK Day events.) Notably, he talked about why it was in the best interests of the poor of all races to unite, for their own survival. In recent years, considerable work went into ensuring that this can’t happen. One thing he said, that would be worth thinking about today: “In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: There are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike.”

  4. April 5, 2018 at 16:15

    MLK had moved beyond race

    Dr. King’s Vision: The Poor People’s Campaign of 1967-68

    “I think it is necessary for us to realize that we have moved from the era of civil rights to the era of human rights…[W]hen we see that there must be a radical redistribution of economic and political power, then we see that for the last twelve years we have been in a reform movement…That after Selma and the Voting Rights Bill, we moved into a new era, which must be an era of revolution…In short, we have moved into an era where we are called upon to raise certain basic questions about the whole society.“

    • DHFabian
      April 5, 2018 at 19:06

      Human rights standards were codified in the UN’s UDHR. Interestingly, these include the human rights to basic food and shelter — even for our jobless poor. America disagrees. We ended actual welfare aid in the 1990s, and took the first steps to similarly “reform” Social Security, targeting the disabled. The US never was very big on human rights protections.

  5. April 5, 2018 at 14:04

    Many say Martin Luther King has been betrayed…true for the last 3 generations. However, this young generation are color blind and religion blind. They don’t give a damn what color you are or what religion you are. YOU are a human being and thats good nuff. My 9yr old granddaughters best friend is a 9yr black muslim child. My 12yr old granddaughter’s best friend is asian. My 17yr and 19yr granddaughters don’t have an oz of racism in them. They both have many friends, all colors, cultures and religions. They are the future, they depise miliartism, NRA, believe in climate change and every other progressive idea….all of them love Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren…this is how we win…it took 3 generations to accomplish…so MLK lives, his ideas are still alive.

  6. Zachary Smith
    April 5, 2018 at 12:00
  7. Zachary Smith
    April 5, 2018 at 11:59

    Margaret Kimberley is Editor and Senior Columnist at Black Agenda Report.

    Hadn’t noticed the author’s affiliation until I made a word search to see if anybody else had mentioned the story I’m linking. Mostly that site does fine work.

    This morning at the Naked Capitalism site I read this comment.

    “King and his SCLC were a rogue faction of dissident Baptists in a sea of petty capitalist hustlers in clerical collars whose mission was to reconcile Black people to life under apartheid.” Continued excellence from BAR.

    I like that analysis. King wasn’t an Uncle Tom, and was therefore especially disagreeable to the Powers That Be.

  8. John A. Joslin
    April 5, 2018 at 11:56

    Thank you for reminding us that reality can be glimpsed anytime we want. -JJoslin ( Detroit )

  9. mike k
    April 4, 2018 at 21:02

    King’s movement died with him. Too much dependence on one man makes movements very vulnerable to being killed by the leader’s assassination. The 60’s revolution was not dependent on a single leader, but it died from other defects.

    A movement needs to form deep, sustainable roots in large numbers of it’s followers, so that many of them can play leading roles. These rooted beliefs need to be strong enough to sustain the sacrifices necessary for a real revolution to weather the inevitable challenges it will meet. Look at Cuba for an example of what is needed.

  10. backwardsevolution
    April 4, 2018 at 20:18

    And there’s the Democrats protecting illegals with sanctuary cities and sanctuary states, undermining the wages and jobs of the poor black AND white legal citizens, and still the progressive Left scream for more! Donald Trump is trying to say, “Hey, we should be looking out for existing citizens,” and he’s tarred and feathered and called a racist. Go figure.

    Donald Trump is trying to bring jobs back, but the globalists, enabled by the useful idiots on the Left attack him by saying things like, “Watch out, Trump is a nationalist! He’s Hitler!” For trying to bring jobs back for citizens?

    The Left are undermining themselves and they don’t even know it.

    • Skip Scott
      April 7, 2018 at 08:02

      The term “Nationalist” has been hijacked, just like the term “Liberal”. What is wrong with being a Nationalist? How else do we retain sovereignty? The Globalists want the citizens to defer to the will of the Corporate overlords. How are we to “promote the general welfare” of the people of the United States when we’ve sacrificed all authority to Global Corporations?

      I believe in “fair trade” instead of “free trade”, and believe that is the preferred path to peace and prosperity in a multi-polar world. That can only be accomplished when we engage in bi-lateral trade agreements with countries that treat workers fairly. “We the People” must control the corporations, not the other way round.

  11. mrtmbrnmn
    April 4, 2018 at 18:44

    Amen, Margaret Kimberly!

    The greatest exploiters and betrayers (as well as unworthy beneficiaries) of King’s legacy are Bonnie & Clyde Clinton and Barry Obama. And their cash registers are still ka-chinging!

    • April 5, 2018 at 14:07

      I would agree with both Clintons, after all she called the young blacks predators, and they supported more prisons knowing blacks go to prison 5 times more than lilly whites for the same crimes. Obama hell no you cant count him in…He delivered health care (corporate yes cuz he couldnt get single payer), ended the war in Iraq, drew down Afganistan, gave $784 billion to the vets etc, etc…who are fighting these wars….miniorities!

  12. Zachary Smith
    April 4, 2018 at 15:47

    When Ram approached the King Estate with the idea of featuring Dr. King’s voice in a new “Built To Serve” commercial, we were pleasantly surprised at the existence of the Ram Nation volunteers and their efforts. We learned that as a volunteer group of Ram owners, they serve others through everything from natural disaster relief, to blood drives, to local community volunteer initiatives. Once the final creative was presented for approval, it was reviewed to ensure it met our standard integrity clearances. We found that the overall message of the ad embodied Dr. King’s philosophy that true greatness is achieved by serving others. Thus we decided to be a part of Ram’s “Built To Serve” Super Bowl program.

    The Ram commercial was in a Good Cause after all. So said Eric D. Tidwell, the managing director of Intellectual Properties Management, Inc., which is the “exclusive licensor” of the estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. If the money is good enough, no doubt Mr. Tidwell will allow selected snippits from King’s works to be used by the NRA as well. After all, half a lifetime ago the NRA did some good things.

  13. Mild-ly - Facetious
    April 4, 2018 at 13:04

    How Will We Challenge Militarism, Racism, and Extreme Materialism?

    “The Children of Vietnam” provides an instance of truth force that is needed more than ever to counter the fragmentation and doublethink being amplified by the demands of capital and its accumulation. Because, tragically and horrifically, what the United States caused to happen in Vietnam has not stopped. It continues to this day, magnified on a global scale within numerous theatres of U.S. military and covert operations including in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Yemen.


    In denouncing the U.S. war in Vietnam at Riverside Church in 1967 Martin King posed the question on behalf of Vietnamese peasants: “What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?” And this was a war that ended up being broadcast on nightly news television in the United States as it became evermore hellish in its results.

    Said King at Riverside, “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” His voice, love, compassion, and intelligence are as searingly relevant right now, half a century later, as in 1967.

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 4, 2018 at 14:06

      Excellent link, Mild-ly – Facetious. Thank You!

    • geeyp
      April 4, 2018 at 17:14

      Dan’s site is an excellent site. As I look again for the umpteenth time at that well known photograph, I always wonder if I might see something that I haven’t seen. And this time I did. It looks to me like someone is peering over on the rooftop adjacent to King’s landing. I am not sure if this is where they are pointing, exactly… Just like what we have heard regarding the death of Seth Rich, Dr. King may have survived the shooting, had some very evil person(s) not finished him off in hospital.

      • geeyp
        April 4, 2018 at 17:20

        This is just a reminder to the author: the 2008 crash that hijacked this country’s Treasury did not just crush African-American’s progress. It hit hard a great many of us. I mean hard. This needs added to the conversation.

        • April 5, 2018 at 14:09

          Blacks, latinos have always been 2nd, 3rd class citizens…they are very poor, those who were climbing the ladder lost their homes, along with poor whites…Get ready for the next great depression ala Trumpolini.

  14. exiled off mainstreet
    April 4, 2018 at 12:30

    King was a real hero. As the author indicates, false portrayals of him by the power structure are being used to shore up what he knew had to be sidelined for real justice and freedom to emerge.

  15. April 4, 2018 at 10:33

    My comment is awaiting moderation. It is well known that J. Edgar Hoover conducted a smear campaign against Martin Luther King focused on two points: 1) he was involved with the US Communist Party; 2) he indulged in licentious sexual perversions and debauchery. Neither point was proven and it is well known how Hoover assiduously worked against anyone or any group that challenged him. It is far too easy to believe stories supporting one’s own biases. Coretta Scott King speaks directly of the smear job done on her husband in “My Life, My Love, My Legacy” by Hoover. The biography of Hoover “Official and Confidential” by Anthony Summers shows what an obsessed, perverted individual Hoover was. The damage remains today, twisted in other directions, as Margaret Kimberley tells us well.

    • nonsense factory
      April 4, 2018 at 13:01

      From a DuckDuckGo search for: Cointelpro FBI Martin Luther King documents

      “On December 23, 1963, a nine-hour conference was held at FBI headquarters to discuss Martin Luther King. In attendance were Assistant Director Sullivan, Internal Security Section Chief Frederick Baumgardner, three other FBI headquarters officials, and two agents from the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office.”

      “A prepared list of twenty-one proposals was presented and discussed. The proposals raised the possibility of “using” ministers, “disgruntled” acquaintances, “aggressive” newsmen, “colored” agents, Dr. King’s housekeeper, and even suggested using Dr. King’s wife or “placing a good looking female plant in King’s office.” An account of the meeting written by William Sullivan emphasized that the Bureau must take a “discreet approach” in developing information about Dr. King for use “at an opportune time in a counterintelligence move to discredit him.””

      This pattern of behavior was amplified and expanded after King’s Vietnam speech:
      Dr. King publicly announced his opposition to American involvement in the war in Vietnam in a speech at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967. Six days later, Charles Brennan of the Domestic Intelligence Division recommended the circulation of an updated draft of the King monograph to the White House. Brennan’s memorandum states that the revised monograph contained allegations about communist influence over Dr. King as well as personally derogatory allegations.

      Director Hoover approved and copies of the revised monograph were sent to the White House, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Secret Service, and the Attorney General. A copy was subsequently sent to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, who had been interested in “King’s activities in the civil rights movement but recently had become quite concerned as to whether there are any subversive influences which have caused King to link the civil rights movement with the anti-Vietnam War movement.”

      Source: US Senate, Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (“Church Committee”), Final Report – Book III: Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans
      23 April 1976
      Transcribed by Paul Wolf

      As far as the claim that ‘no federal, state or local agency was in any way involved with MLK’s murder’? Hard to believe, actually, given what else was going on at the time.

  16. April 4, 2018 at 09:50

    I suggest that TB and others who have believed the FBI J. Edgar Hoover instigated smear campaign read King’s own words and also read Coretta Scott King’s books. Without having direct personal information it is tempting to reach a conclusion supporting one’s own biases. Fifty years on, Hoover’s legacy of deception still is alive and well at the FBI. A smear job is invariably done to siphon off support of someone like King or Kennedy. I for one do not believe Hoover’s lies about King, and i also do not believe knowing about JFK’s sexual indiscretions cancel out his important decisions as President. We are living in what i call “tabloid times” where rational thinking seems in short supply.

    • Skip Scott
      April 4, 2018 at 10:42

      Amen Jessika!

  17. Bob Van Noy
    April 4, 2018 at 08:19

    Thank you Margaret Kimberly for your excellent essay. It’s so refreshing to see an accurate article on Martin Luther King, and it’s not at all surprising at all to find it here on Consortiumnews so thank you Nat.

    Margaret Kimberly’s disassembly of the democratic party is accurate and well deserved. It’s stunning to actually see it presented in such a brief and dramatic way. Thank you Margaret Kimberly. For those of us who saw Martin’s “I have a dream” speech live or live on TV live, it’s a dramatic come down to realize just how effectively the progress he actually achieved has been disassembled. The good news is, that that progress was real, and can be regained, and surpassed. The Dream still lives…

    The second thought that I wanted to thank Margaret for, is the outrage she accurately expresses over the Dodge truck commercial. Here is a truly cynical example of how corporate propaganda works, and how effective it is at changing history. It’s vitally important that people recognize it when it is as blatantly untrue as it presented in this add. It truly dishonors Martin Luther King’s teaching.

    Finally, thank you Joe, you’re a treasure!

  18. TB
    April 4, 2018 at 02:13

    Nice censorship of facts. If you ever want to be seen as anything other than a sometimes good source on SOME stories, but with a hard left angle, you might adjust that, or maybe you do not care, or it is your goal to be such?

    My political compass is nearly dead center in the middle. Thoughtful centrist.

    If, instead of worrying about the past, the US black community decided to be achievers, instead of constantly dragging each other down for possible personal gain, it would be a different world.

    • Sam F
      April 4, 2018 at 09:54

      That is incorrect.

      Sure there remains counterproductive alienation among blacks and others, but there has been great progress as well. Some of our most inspiring thinkers and brilliant professionals are blacks. They certainly do not drag down their kind, but instead urge them on, often with severe criticism of any slackers and laggards among them.

      It is a long battle upward for segregated disadvantaged people, and we must not pretend that it should have been over by now. There are plenty of examples of slackers and laggards among all groups.

      While we must not be indulgent of those who feel defeated, we must not pretend that the problems are their fault. The ladder must remain, with the inspiration, opportunity, and encouragement to ascend. We all need that.

    • nole_89
      April 9, 2018 at 16:08

      You ain’t centrist. You’re just another over 40 ignorant white man who watches too much foxnews and listens to too much clear channel radio. And this is coming from an over 40 white man.

  19. LarcoMarco
    April 4, 2018 at 01:39

    Many years ago, Cornell West remarked that MLK had been “Santa Clausified”.

  20. Joe Tedesky
    April 4, 2018 at 01:04

    I posted this on another article, but it fits better to this one.

    I wish our country would honor MLK for what he said, but instead the MSM portrays King for how he used the media to advance his equal rights cause. If Martin Luther King isn’t portrayed for his manipulation of the media of his day, he is remembered for his peaceful advocacy. I mean yes talk about King’s Gandhi Jesus like peace marches, but please tell us in full what he said. I know he had a Dream, but what else did he say? How many U.S. citizens even know about MLK’s ‘Beyond Vietnam Speech’?

    I consider Martin Luther King to be if not the single most greatest, well then at least he is one of the greatest Americans who has ever walked the face of this embattled earth. We need a King.

    • TB
      April 4, 2018 at 01:48

      Plaigarist, dishonest within his marriage, at times basically incited violence? Sounds like a real hero…

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 4, 2018 at 02:18

        Good luck waiting for that savior of yours who ain’t human. In fact depending on how righteous you are you may throw the first stone, while you are at it. The shallow depth of your argument goes to show how unprepared you are to make any case of anything. Do you always bring a water pistol to a real gun fight?

        • TB
          April 4, 2018 at 02:44

          What savior am I waiting for?

          Did I ever say I was waiting for one?

          I would like to know.

          MLK had a LOT of dishonest and aberrant behaviors.

          Side note: No presidents get their own holiday, but MLK does? That was an obvious bone thrown in trade for votes.

          Other side note: Having read most all of them, if I had to side with anybody prominent from that era, it would be Malcolm X. He had some things wrong, but trended honest, rather than trending disingeneous pop star.

          Insulting people is the first resort of a person unsure of their argument, which is what you did out if the box, intimating I am weak?

          You just cartooned your own self. First laugh of 4/4/18. Thank you for the chuckle.

          Note that I did not insult you, I just disagreed with your premises.

          • Joe Tedesky
            April 4, 2018 at 03:06

            No you fired the first shot. I’m here to converse and share opinions. I happen to believe MLK was a hero, that final remark of yours ticked me off. What hero do you know that had or has a spotless record of any kind? You sound like you really dislike King in total, as your comment leaves me to believe. Now, after I give you a verbal beating you change course and become intellectual.

            TB you want to debate, then let’s debate. If you wish to form an opinion and express it in a civil manner, well I’m here to accommodate you with a response. Let’s both of us quit this arguing and see if we may find the suitable words to take this conversation to a level of coherence where all may learn something, instead of them reading our nasty arguments.

            It’s up to you if you want to start this conversation over again. Joe

          • Anon
            April 4, 2018 at 09:27

            TB, your pattern has been verbal abuse in lieu of argument, and it discredits your every post.

        April 5, 2018 at 20:22

        you sound like you have no sin. is this why you cast many stones? no sin more stones. or is this a projection of the guilt within? have a nice day.

    • Sam F
      April 4, 2018 at 09:41

      Yes, King had much more to say. The media coverage emphasized his calls for peaceful change during urban riots. While he was a spokesman for peace, he no doubt knew that change would not come without the riots.

      LBJ was not without sympathy for blacks, and actually forcibly collared Alabama’s Wallace to demand the vote for blacks. But no doubt he needed the persuasion of a King as well as the urban riots to bring him to action.

      Perhaps we have enough “bread and circus” and enough oligarchy control of media, that we will not see another JF/RFK/King until the economy collapses, young men are conscripted into more pointless wars, and people can see that we no longer have a democracy. So far they seem happy to be deceived by the dictatorship of the rich.

      • Nancy
        April 4, 2018 at 13:09

        As Margaret Kimberly points out, It took mass actions to effect change in the 50s and 60s. I don’t see that kind of action happening today, outside of one-day, feel-good marches like the recent ones protesting gun violence. I guess things aren’t quite bad enough for people to give up more than an afternoon of their time.
        How bad does it have to get?

        • Abby
          April 4, 2018 at 18:06

          We do need more people out in the streets protesting against our capitalist overlords and the one day march was coopted by the democrats, but the teachers who are protesting for more money not only for themselves, but for their schools may be the start of a national movement.

          I’m thinking that if the republicans go too far with their gutting social programs and it affects their voters, then maybe they too will finally wake up and see that this asset stripping has gone far enough and that they are being hurt by it. If enough people start seeing this, then maybe they will join with the teachers. This is what it’s going to take to change things here. Right now those people think that the upcoming cuts are going to hurt blacks and other minorities and never them.

    • April 4, 2018 at 11:44

      Thanks for the link, Joe. I wholeheartedly agree that it is MLK’s greatest speech and a milestone for which he paid with his life. In it he rose from single issue leadership to embrace everyone who suffered from injustice. I especially like these lines: “we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

      April 5, 2018 at 20:17

      mlk jr. wrote a neat little book ‘why we cant wait’ suggested reading.

    • Peter Loeb
      April 6, 2018 at 05:48


      Or, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired”

      I was 26 when Dr. King was assassinated, I was filled with the usual
      illusions typical of youth. They were good illusions for a movement.
      I chose not ro continue MY resume, my bona fides.

      I question whether SCLC would join Black Lives Matter or
      Color of Change. How would those movements confront the
      racism of today. Remember it is no longer 50 years ago. It is
      closer to the era of lynching than anything. The authorities (white with
      some ambitious blacks mixed in…for color!)
      are now joining to oppress persons of color..

      It seems so tragically empty to “celebrate” times long gone..

      Would our icons of the past (whom I idolized) be silent at
      Stephon Clark’s murder? Or the many others like him? Or if
      the person of color did indeed have a record, would our icons
      say, “Well, he was just another nigger. He deserved it…”
      After all Clark was 22, wore a hoodie. Against property for sure.
      Not entirled to anger at their repression.

      But it is quite pointless today to keep repeating how bold and
      courageous you once were. (“King’s LEGACY…etc. etc.)

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

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