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Mon Jan 19, 2015, 01:06 PM

Happy MLK Day

Happy “Martin Luther King Day”!

I recently had a young man ask me what book I thought was the most important to read, in order to “really understand” Dr. King? Now, that is an interesting question. I have a rather large “King” section in my library -- books by King, about King, and others in which, while he is not the central figure, his influence is felt throughout. I’ve also collected, over the years, a substantial number of newspaper and magazine articles about King. And I have an old record album of highlights of his speeches.

His best-know writing would be the letter from the Birmingham jail; his most famous speech is the “I Have a Dream” from Washington, DC. Yet, even in these cases, the majority of Americans are primarily familiar with highlights, rather than the full message. Both of these messages are extremely important -- so much so, in my opinion, that is essential that people study them in their entirety. This includes placing them correctly within the context of his other lesser-know, but equally important messages to America.

Anything less actually promotes the marginalizing of King’s life, and helping to create the “safe” version of Martin. The plaster-of-paris saint that never existed. A non-threatening black leader who wanted nothing more than full access to public drinking fountains and toilets. The chocolate Easter bunny: sweet on the outside, but hollow under that thin surface.

Tavis Smiley’s 2014 book, “Death of a King,” challenged that image. The author focused on the last year of King’s life -- a year in which King told America that the only way to make a dream into reality was to wake up, and take the bold, often dangerous steps towards that goal. And, as Smiley documents, a good many people rejected King’s message, and King himself, in those last twelve months of his life. This included not only his enemies and critics, but also many of those who had been part of the Civil Rights movement along side of King.

It would be easy to mistakenly believe that Martin became “militant” as a result of his life experiences in the mid-1960s. However, if one takes the time needed to study King’s thinking while he was a university student -- something that the FBI certainly did -- it becomes obvious that even as a young man, Martin Luther King was far more militant in his thinking than the image of him in Birmingham or Selma portrayed.

Thus, I told the young man who asked my opinion regarding which King book is most important to read, that there is no single answer to that. The 1986 collection of his speeches and writings, “A Testament of Hope,” is a great starting point. But to truly honor King, in a way that opens the possibility of our “waking up America” in order to make his dream real, we should be engaging in an on-going study of his life’s works.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Happy MLK Day (Original post)
H2O Man Jan 2015 OP
H2O Man Jan 2015 #1
Octafish Jan 2015 #2
2naSalit Jan 2015 #3
H2O Man Jan 2015 #4
spanone Jan 2015 #5
Zorra Jan 2015 #6


Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 01:14 PM

2. Happy Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service

"On MLK Day, Americans across the country come together for a day of service, picking up the baton handed to us by past generations and carrying forward their efforts. As one people, we show that when ordinary citizens come together to participate in the democracy we love, justice will not be denied." -- US Government web site

SOURCE: http://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday2015

As opposed to:

"The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality, and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing "clergy and laymen concerned" committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

SOURCE: http://www.vox.com/2015/1/19/7552977/martin-luther-king-quotes



Thank you, H20 Man. If you find a moment, you may want to check out the article and images:

FBI should have protected MLK, not turned him into a target.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 02:22 PM

3. +1

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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 03:06 PM

4. Interesting.

Thanks for the link. I looked through it briefly, and will definitely be reading it much more closely later today.

As you know, James Douglass is completing a book on Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X and the Unspeakable. (For those less familiar, Douglass's book on JFK and the Unspeakable is a "must read." He started the Martin & Malcolm book, but got sidetracked, briefly, and did the second of the series, on Gandhi and the Unspeakable. It, too, is an essential read.)

Call it "speculation" on my part, but I believe that Douglass will include documentation on the nature of the coordinated efforts of Hoover's FBI and army intelligence -- and not only in Memphis, where the public learned a bit about this from the Congressional investigation, but as an on-going part of a larger program of domestic interest.

The same concept applied to Malcolm. I suppose most people understood that the NOI could not have blocked Malcolm's entry to France. Douglass's research documents some of the connections -- so much so, that it can't be called "speculation."

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 03:08 PM

5. k&r...

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 04:18 PM

6. Thanks,

and Happy MLK Day to you!

"The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality, and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing "clergy and laymen concerned" committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy."
~ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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