(c) Sergii Figurnyi – Stock.Adobe.com WASHINGTON DC, USA – MARCH 29, 2020: Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington DC in a sunny day, USA
By Michael Coard
In a powerfully enlightening April 16, 2013, article entitled “How MLK Became an Angry Black Man,” CNN correspondent John Blake wrote that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s April 16, 1963, riveting and righteously indignant “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is “one of the most intimate snapshots of a King most people don’t know: An angry Black man who once hated white people and, according to one scholar, was more dangerous than Malcolm X, a man King admired.”
In that letter, Dr. King angrily condemned systemic racism and white supremacy/white savagery by angrily telling white church leaders that “[T]he purpose of … direct action … is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door … [to change] … the status quo.” He added that such change which leads to revolutionary “freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed …” in order to stop the “hate-filled [white] policemen [who] curse, kick and even kill your Black brothers and sisters.”
In that letter, Dr. King angrily informs those white church leaders that “I feel impelled to mention one other point … that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the … police … for … preventing violence. I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police … if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes … [and] if you were to see them slap and kick old men and young boys. I cannot join you in your praise of the … police.”
In that letter, Dr. King angrily points out that those white church leaders “express a great deal of anxiety over … [protesters’] willingness to break laws.” But he responds that “an unjust law is no law at all.”
As part of his article, Blake cites Jonathan Rieder, an American Studies professor and renowned MLK scholar who has taught at Barnard College, Yale University and Swarthmore College and is the author of “Gospel of Freedom,” a book that describes King as a “furious truth teller.” In that book, Rieder writes, “Before anything else, [the Birmingham Jail letter] is a Black man’s cry of … anger.”
After referencing Rieder, Blake adds, “King’s Blackness — his fierce racial pride, his distinctively Black Christian faith and his belief that most whites were ‘unconscious racists’ — is on full display in his letter, scholars say.”
Wow! An angry Black man? Once hated white people? Admired Malcolm X? Furious truth-teller? Fierce racial pride? Viewed most whites as unconscious racists? I know all that’s going to shock white folks who, like clockwork, trot out Dr. King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech ever since they murdered him on April 4, 1968, and largely opposed the official observation of his Jan. 15, 1929, birthday as a federal holiday in 1986.
They claim they know him. But they know nothing about him.
Dr. King was more than that “I Have a Dream” speech. Much more. I’ll explain later in this article.
This year, MLK Day is Jan. 17. Although in past years, I’ve always written about that holiday a few days before the observed date, I decided this year to do so more than a week early in order to give white folks more time to appreciate the real revolutionary Dr. King instead of celebrating a fictitious “whitewashed” (pardon the pun) version that the white media and the white-run educational system cram down America’s throat around every Jan. 15.
Despite the fact that neither I nor anyone else can speak for Dr. King or really know what he would say if he were alive for his 93rd birthday, I can speak about what he said and what he did before violent white people conspiratorially blasted a fatal single shot from a telescopic-sight high velocity .30-06 Remington Game-Master slide action rifle into the right side of this peaceful Black man’s face just below his mouth, fracturing his jaw before entering his neck and causing severe damage to his spinal column.
And if he were alive to say today in 2022 what he said back in 1963, which was that “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws,” y’all white folks would call the cops on him.
Now back to the “I Have a Dream” speech. White folks relentlessly and disingenuously continue to take one particular line from that speech completely out of context. And here it is: “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.”
Those white folks deceitfully claim that those words mean Dr. King opposes Black voting rights, Critical Race Theory, reparations, affirmative action, defunding the police, etc., because, as argued by those whites, such activism focuses on skin color. Well, duh! Dr. King lived for his skin color. He fought for his skin color. And he died for his skin color.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was much more than that (great but misappropriated) speech. He was a revolutionary “recidivist ex-con” who had been jailed 29 times for his “anti-social” behavior. And if he were alive to say today in 2022 what he said back in 1963, which was that “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws,” y’all white folks would call the cops on him. And they’d beat him, shoot him and murder him (again).
Here’s irrefutable and chronological proof that Dr. King was a genuine revolutionary:
• MLK’s first act of civil rights protesting occurred in 1950 when he was a mere 21 years old and it happened not far from Philly in Maple Shade, N.J., while he was living in Camden and attending classes at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester as reported by Patrick Duff, a local historical researcher/investigator. MLK, then known by his birth name, Michael, was refused service at Mary’s Cafe in Maple Shade because of his race. When he insisted upon being permitted to purchase a ginger ale beverage there, the proprietor pulled a gun and fired shots in the air. Instead of taking no for an answer, MLK filed a complaint with the police and the shooter was arrested. MLK later called that incident his first civil rights activism.
• MLK in 1956 applied for a license to carry one of the many guns he kept for self-protection and family protection at his home, In fact, his colleague Glen Smiley described King’s house, where several of King’s aides were staying at times, as an “arsenal.” Furthermore, journalist William Worthy, who covered stories regarding King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, reported that when he attempted to sit in a chair in King’s living room, he almost sat directly on top of a “loaded gun.” This reminds me of that famous 1964 Life Magazine photo of Malcolm X standing by a window in his home holding an M1 Carbine rifle. It also reminds me of a rarely publicized 1959 quote by Dr. King: “The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned” because people have a natural need to avoid harm to themselves and their families.
• Shortly after MLK’s 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote an internal memo stating MLK was “influencing great masses of Negroes … [and] we must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation.” In addition to that, Hoover also assigned his New York office to “do something about Malcolm X,” which led to him, like MLK, being wiretapped and followed everywhere.
• MLK in 1964 met with Malcolm X in Washington, D.C.
• MLK told Alex Haley in a 1965 Playboy magazine interview (as he had written in his 1963 Birmingham Jail letter) that “The white church … has greatly disappointed me.” Malcolm told Haley in the autobiography published in that same year, “If the so-called Christianity now being practiced in America displays the best that Christianity has to offer, no one in his right mind should need any much greater proof that very close at hand is the end of Christianity.”
• MLK in 1966 said, “Black power … is a reaction to the reluctance of … [whites] to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality.” Malcolm X a year earlier said Black people will use “Black power” to get justice “by any means necessary.”
• MLK in 1966 met with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad at Muhammad’s Chicago home. Two years later, after another meeting with Muhammad, MLK told Harry Belafonte, “You know we fought long and hard for integration. But … I’ve come to the realization that … we may be integrating into a burning house.”
• Most white Americans, totaling about 75% in an early 1968 Harris Poll and more than 66% in a 1966 Gallup Poll, had an “unfavorable” opinion of MLK.
• MLK in 1966 said, “There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism” and in the following year said, “The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism … and racism.”
• MLK in 1967 described the Vietnam War as racist and genocidal because America was asserting its “deadly Western arrogance” by testing chemical weapons on “Vietnamese peasants” similar to what Germany did to Jewish people during the Holocaust.
• A Memphis jury in 1999 reached a verdict in favor of Coretta Scott King and other family members’ wrongful death lawsuit by ruling- after hearing from 70 witnesses and reviewing 4,000 pages of transcripts that implicated not only a local known racist businessman from 1968 but also implicated the FBI, the CIA, the U.S. Army and the Memphis Police Department — that the assassination of MLK was a “conspiracy” and that American “governmental agencies” were involved as “parties to this conspiracy.”
All of this is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the revolutionary the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Therefore, I respectfully say to racist white folks, “Y’all betta keep his name outta yo mouth.” And as MLK himself would (probably) say, “Y’all stop it, just stop it!”
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