The Legacy Of MLK — 55 Years Later

Sunday would have marked the 94th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, had he not been gunned down at the age of 39.  He was alive fewer years than he’s been dead, but his name and his work have not been forgotten.  Even young people who were not born until long after his murder know the legacy of Dr. King.

Yes, his legacy lives on, and yet …

  • Duante Wright, age 20
  • George Floyd, age 46
  • Breonna Taylor, age 26
  • Atatiana Jefferson, age 28
  • Botham Jean, age 26
  • Philando Castile, age 32
  • Alton Sterling, age 37
  • Freddie Gray, age 25
  • Tamir Rice, age 12
  • Michael Brown, age 18

SAY THEIR NAMES!!!

These are but a few of the Black Americans who were killed by police, some while sleeping in their own beds, others playing in a park or stopped for a routine traffic violation.  Killed for the crime of being Black. All were unarmed.  Many of them I have written about previously.  Today … we are no better as a nation than we were on April 4th, 1968, the day that Dr. King was gunned down by a white ‘man’, James Earl Ray, at 6:01 p.m. on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee.

Even today, we have lawmakers doing everything in their power to disenfranchise Black people.  Even today, there are ever-growing groups in this nation who believe, or claim to believe, that the only “true Americans” are white Christians.  Even today, Black people are shunned by some, are considered to be of lesser intelligence.  Here’s a video clip from a 1964 CBS News program Face the Nation where Dan Rather asks Dr. King a question … and the answer is prophetic.

And as Mr. Rather says in a portion of his latest newsletter …

The record shows that in the decades that followed, the grim scenario Dr. King lamented in our exchange largely came to pass. In 1968, Richard Nixon used dog whistle appeals to racism in his euphemistic “Southern Strategy” to win the White House. In the ensuing years, what had been a “Solid South” for Democrats tracing back to the Civil War became a wall of red states that helped propel Republicans to power. From Ronald Reagan’s demonizing “welfare queens” to George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton ad, Republicans had concocted a playbook of racist appeals in order to win the white vote. With Trump, dog whistles became bullhorns.

Make no mistake, if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today, he would be stigmatized as ‘woke’ and attacked accordingly.

Everything Dr. King stood for is under attack in America today. You can see it in efforts to disenfranchise voters. You can find it in the whitewashing of history and the demonization of so-called “critical race theory.” Whether it’s the banning of books, attacks on labor rights, or the death knell of affirmative action, an America of ideas, engagement, and reckoning with our past is under siege. In the sneers at “wokeness,” one finds an effort by the privileged to hold onto the positions of power they feel they are owed. It is an insult to everything Dr. King hoped to achieve.

A significant proportion of today’s Republican Party has been taken over by performative hatred, lies, and reactionary attempts to undermine American democracy. This dynamic presents new and unique challenges to our journey toward justice. Dr. King would have been fearless in denouncing these forces of hatred and autocracy.

Yesterday I posted my annual tribute to Dr. King, including a portion of his “I Have a Dream” speech.  Given the lack of true progress in the 55 years since his assassination, I sadly predict that his dream will never be realized in this country.  You can legislate equality and justice for all, but you cannot control how people think, and laws are only as good as the ability and willingness to enforce them.

Today there is a growing movement to stop teaching about Dr. Martin Luther King in the schools, to stop teaching about the racism that led to his works, his activism.  Will people in 50 more years even know who he was, let alone what he stood for, what he did?  Not if some of the current politicians have their way — they would sooner erase his name from the history books.  Dr. King spent and ultimately gave his life trying to bring the people of this nation out of the darkness, but today there are those who prefer that darkness, who prefer to live in a privileged white world, who have no humanity.

53 thoughts on “The Legacy Of MLK — 55 Years Later

  1. What I have found rather strange is that many work with, socialize with, and even talk positively about the black people they personally know. Yet their overall estimation of the race is totally negative. I mean, WHITE people can be a-holes and commit totally abhorrent offenses yet based solely on the color of their skin, they are held to a different standard.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hadn’t thought about it, but … you’re right! I know people like that, too … have worked with people who seemed to treat Black co-workers with respect and friendship, but still have zero respect for Black people on the whole. What a mess we have made of this world!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderfully stated. I have hope that the next generations may be persuaded to not allow the Republicans to prevent blacks from voting or allow us to cease to be a democracy. I hope we do not become a white theocracy where only white Christians are successful and others are demonized and killed for their unwillingness to conform. I am a Christian and it scares me, but I put my hope and faith in God, mainly because I have seen progress on The Dream in my lifetime and hope that we will not lose it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I share your hopes for the future, for a future ruled by a white theocracy is NOT one where I would choose to live. I think it is up to We the People, we must use our vote and help others overcome the hurdles placed before them. We must vote for the people who truly share our views of how government and society should work together for the good of the people. The price will be high if we fail to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think a lot improved since Martin Luther King showed up and a lot of improvement is still necessary to be done. As a European, I still don’t understand why there are differences made between people only because of their skin color. It makes me cry to learn about random acts of violence against colored people, only because they are colored. Yes, over here racism exists too, unfortunately. But I don’t think it has ever been that terrible, at least, as long as I live.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keith said much the same, and I like the optimism you both have … I just wish I shared it. I see us moving backward into a time of darkness, a time of separateness, a time where skin colour mattered more than what was inside. And sadly, our politicians, or some of them anyway, promote this backward move. One step forward and two steps back. Sigh. Hugs, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes I think that all the darkness that seems to overshadow this world lately, is only a last rebellion before it blows itself off. It cannot survive… it destroys itself, in the end. I only hope, that not too many innocent lives are sacrificed unitl this ends.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Legacy Of MLK — 55 Years Later | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

    • I have thought the exact same for several years now. When I was working on my MA in Political Science, I worked as a research assistant to one of my professors. I did the legwork for a professional article he was writing about how an external threat will help with internal cohesion … people come together to defeat that external threat. I’ve long thought that is what it’s going to take. I actually thought for a week or so that 9/11 was going to bring us together — and it did for a short time, but then came the conspiracy theorists claiming it was all a hoax, that the government had orchestrated the attacks, or that there were no planes, and people once again took up their weapons of hatred and divisiveness. I dread finding out just what it WILL take. I won’t even speak my worst fear, but you can guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The scourge of racism buries itself deep into society. It exists at many levels and in places folk would rather not talk about, for it cuts across many racial boundaries.
    It is, of course most noticeable amongst the loud, ignorant white sections who have a frantic, neurotic urge to cling to their privileges.
    With eyes wide open at the fact that there will always be this infection I have sadly reached the conclusion the only way to cure this is to make the whole thing illegal and never mind the Freedom of Speech issue, imprison those who propagate it and build into the society a sustained education programme that racism is wrong and will not be tolerated.
    Yes I am aware of the ramification on ‘liberty ‘.
    I don’t care.
    Sorry ’bout that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do not apologize for trying, Roger. I would like to see all r acists sterilized so that they can’t turn their children into carbon fopu3s of themselves, but that won’t happen either. I stick to my vision of ending the nuclear family. That I know will work, ano one will have to be imprisoned or corporeally punished. STOP PARENTS FROM OWNING THEIR CHILDREN! The w9rld will be a better place for it!

      Liked by 2 people

      • But who raises the children?
        And can we depend on them?
        I prefer something folks don’t like and that is more state intervention. Adverts on TV…’Are you raising your children responsibility?’ style.
        But there I go again…Socialist to the core.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Professional parents, people who love children and must pass psychological tests to weed out those who believe they get to control how children are brought up. The job of any parent is to provide a safe place fkor a child to grow without being subject to indoctrination of any kind.
          Not everyone us fit to be a parent, so let us pay those who are fit to do the job for us.

          Liked by 2 people

          • The danger is the possibility of in creating an entire class of professional parents is a mindset which has a very narrow perspective.
            I would prefer a system where the full weight of the law comes down on anyone who is harmful to their children and a constant programme of education on parenting.
            There are no easy solutions of course.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I don’t mean to be mean, Jill, but you keep looking for reasons for things not to work. Maybe that is just human nature, I don’t know. The thing is, the more we look for reasons something won’t work, the more we are passing up on things that might work.The point of science is to experiment. The process of evolution is a total experiment. Life keeps trying new things — it is not afraid to fail. Anyone who is afraid to fail will never truly succeed!

              Liked by 2 people

              • I’m not ‘afraid to fail’, rg … I just prefer to spend my limited time and energy on things that a) have value, and b) have a reasonably decent chance of making a positive difference without using violence.

                Like

            • Sorry, that comment directed to Jill should have been directed to Sir Roger. But really, it is directed to anyone who looks for negatives instead of positives. Sure, it MIGHT create a class of professional parents, but if it works, so what? It might just as easily not create a class of professional parents! 50/50! Are there no yea-sayers left in this world?

              Liked by 2 people

              • Yeah, I know and sorry about rawgod.
                The socialist (Old school) in me has concerns over the word ‘professional’ and how those professionals work. And then the Civil Servant (45 years worth…you can take the person out of the Civil Service, but……)
                Would they be free-lancers or would there be organisations, and who keeps an eye on those.
                It is an idea worth examining, but as with the foster scheme, to make sure the children are placed with folk dedicated to parenthood and not other agendas you would need a high level of supervision.
                And not one run on a shoe-string budget or farmed out to commercial outfits.
                As I see it, are you looking vastly improve upon the foster and adoption services into skill and motivation set which is a paid vocation, ultimately respected.
                It’s a mighty project. It could work, but keep it out of the hands of those with vested interests , otherwise there will be problems.
                And thus concludes today’s brief viewpoint by a retired Civil Servant (and still a socialist- one who takes the business very seriously).

                Liked by 1 person

                • To start, this is not a project for only foster children and adoptive services, it is a project to eventually totally replace the nuclear family. Dead stop.
                  Not boarding schools, not just for certain chidren, but for all children.
                  The main idea is to have children grow up in a home that is multi-culltural, non-religious until they are old ejough to understand what religion is all about, non-political until they can understand what politics is about, and totally free of biases and bigotrys. Children who never live in poverty, or privilege. Children provided all the necessities of life to grow up as physically, and mentally healthy as possible and fully exposed to children born with physical or mental difficulties.
                  It is a tall order, I realize that, but it is doable with the right people in charge, people dedicated to giving children the best possible starts in life.
                  The first couple of generations would be the hardest, even I know that. First convincing people to give up ownership of their children, but as children who grow up under such circumstances become adults, and if my vision works, they will fight to have all children brought up that way. The results will be contagious.
                  Meanwhile, it frees up adults who hate children, or who have no idea how to raise children, etc. to be adults free of child-raising duties. And the people who are good at parenting, and want to be around children, can do that for larger numbers of children.
                  These are just the basics, of course. Things will have to be constantly tweaked. It is impossible to see all the problems until you try it. But chidren will grow up happier, healthier, more mentally stable in group settings where they are protected from the psychoses and neuroses of parents who were brought up in nuclear homes.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • “The first couple of generations would be the hardest,”
                    That would be for certain, particularly on the thorny question of parents and children who are already strongly bonded.
                    Do you possibly envisage a staged progress where children are passed to these vocational and skilled parents at the time of birth?
                    For as you say good friend things will have to be constantly tweaked.
                    I’m not straight out criticising, look upon this as me asking questions on how you see this idea developing?
                    For there is one thing certain we have to take some powerful evolutionary steps (social ones I’m guessing) if we hope to survive.
                    (I was listening this morning to a BBC radio programme on one problem, cities and small nations being swallowed up by rising sea levels. The planet is not happy with us,)

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • The planet, Mother Nature, as I call her, is very upset. She is going extreme. We have always had natural wake-up calls, which humans have always ignored, but now she is demanding our attention. Her oceans are so filled with human garbage her water creatures cannot much longer survive. Her atmoshere is so polluted her creatures who breath it are getting more and more sick. We are so out of touch with nature that we are destroying our home, and she does not want to be destroyed. Our so-called leaders do not care about our planet, or all the myriad of living beings on it. She is screaming her death throes, but no one of us is listening.
                      Mother Nature has been building a home for ALL her inhabitants for billions of years, refining it as best she can, providing for her chilren.
                      AND IN FIVE HUNDRED YEARS HUMANS HAVE DESTROYED EVERYTHING SHE WORKED FOR!
                      I would be mighty pissed too. And I am. But I am must one tiny being out of septillions or octillions of living beings on this planet. What can I do to save her?
                      This vision of ending the nuclear family is huge. Some (most?) parents will be up in arms against it. But we cannot go on as we are, and if we do not do something soon, we will not be able to change because we will run out of time. We will kill our home!
                      Humans are the cancer of Earth. No other creature comes close to our culpability in destroying our homeworld. Mother Nature is demanding we change. We are her creation, but we are out of her control now.
                      My vision is one way to start that change.
                      CHANGE PEOPLE!
                      You know the old saying, Physician, heal yourself! HUMANS, HEAL YOURSELVES! No one else can heal us!

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • We won’t be the first creatures who might have upset the balance of the eco-systems but we are the first who did it for greed and profit and out of ignorance.
                      The Dynamics of the planet are vast, an unstoppable natural system which when upset will evolve the necessary reaction. Life will go on, Life always does.
                      The thing is Life does not need Humanity.
                      Talk about Hubris.
                      Chances are running out.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I like to think Life will always go on, and I always insist to Jill it will, but what if, improbably, Earth is the only planet in the universe to have birthed life, and humans succeed in blowing the planet to smithereens? Life as we know it needs either oxygen or carbon dioxide to live. If there is mo more atmosphere, life won’t be able to survive! What then?
                      No, Life does not need humanity, and I have no need to see us survive. But if we could evolve beyond greed, and inhumanity, that would be a bonus.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • As much as we fancy or fear our capacities to do things rawgod, we do not have anything like, nor will have the power to blow the world apart.
                      Our arsenals of weaponry are as nothing in comparison to the power released by volcanic titans, which themselves are but part of the world.
                      We can make things very unpleasant for the current life and eco systems, but the mighty dynamics of the planet will adjust, and if we get submerged by our own folly that will be that, and in a million years time there will be another scenario on the planet.
                      We are small creatures prey to vanity and of course hubris.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • And humans keep trying to build bigger and more destructive bombs. We cannot say humans will never be able to blow the world apart. Or we ight just weaken the crust to where it blows itself apart. What would Napolean have sa8d if someone had given him a nuclear bomb? Look how far we have come in just 200 years! Another hundred years and who knows what we will have at our dislosal!
                      But under present circumstannces, no we cannot destroy all l8fe on Earth. Let’s jope it stays 5hat way!

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • It will.
                      We may eradicate ourselves and much of the current life, but the planet will remain.
                      The Chicxulub Event that asteroid which struck the Earth 66 million years ago had a power estimated as 100 million megatons. The current capacity of the largest nuclear bomb held by the USA is 1.2 megatons.
                      The former wiped out many life forms, and set large environmental changes. The planer however prevailed and life returned to flourish along another course.
                      The Greater Scheme of Things we currently have but the capacity of annoying destructive pests like a locust swarm.
                      We are not so grand.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • We are not grand at all. And if we do not take control of ourselves, our world, and our place in it we are not going to survive. Intelligence might prove the biggest evolutionary mistake of all time!
                      It is up to us, the people of Earth, to take charge, and stop allowing stupid screw-ups like Putin, Trump, Kim etc. to tell us what to do.
                      There is absolutely no reason intelligence cannot be used for good, to make our home the perfect place for all life, for all living beings. It is our own folly that we gave up that power in the past. Either we retake the power soon, to benefit not just humans but everyone and everything, or we give up and go extinct. These are our choices! How are we, We The People, going to answer that question, because NO ONE ELSE is going to answer it for us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Parents and children who are already strongly bonded would not be subjects for tearing apart unless the parents are showing signs of abusing their children. If abuse, then protecting the children is stronger than the bond. The difference, though, could be if only one of the parents is committing the abuse, and if the non-abusing parent so chooses, that relationship can be continued if they agree to split from the abuser, and work as a house parent.

                      Ultimately I see all children being separated from their parents if my vision works to protect all children and to give them a safe and happy childhood.The parents, of course, will be able to work with their children as houseparents if they pass the tests, as long as they can do so without showing undue favouritisms to their own children.

                      One thing I have not discussed yet is visitation rights, but I choose not to do that yet. Better minds than I can sort those out.

                      Social evolution, otherwise possibly known as consciousness, is a good term, Roger. We have done many dangerous and anti-social th8ngs in our societies for a long time, and the time will be coming to address such things as child ownership and other things I won’t mention here yet.
                      Enough for now, time to sleep. Maybe.

                      Liked by 1 person

    • No need to be sorry ’bout that, my friend, for I’m with you on this. “Freedom of Speech” has become a lethal weapon used by those who greedily accept freedom, but shun the accompanying responsibility. Over the past decade or so, I’ve concluded that if people don’t use their privileges responsibly, then they should lose them. Sadly, that means those of us who are responsible will pay the price as well, but … oh well. The only caveat is that I do not trust our current Congress to make the call about what is and isn’t acceptable speech, nor do I trust the Supreme Court, so … where does that leave us?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Today Jill I have let rip on Annie and Jeff’s blogs.
        You’ll be used to my theme.
        This is a war for Democracy and for the soul of the USA. There can be no quarter now. The White Privileged Minority (privilege does not just equal lost of money) need to be halted, right now. Their leaders and spokesfolk need to be hauled into the public domain and thoroughly subjected to examination. For example.

        Boebert: You did make a blasphemous comment on Jesus Christ. Do you recant.

        Anyone who is soft on Putin. Question their commitment to their own nation.

        Democrats and Liberals are still being too nice.

        Here’s a song:

        Lyrics:
        I used to be such a sweet, sweet thing
        ‘Til they got a hold of me.
        I opened doors for little old ladies,
        I helped the blind to see.
        I got no friends ’cause they read the papers.
        They can’t be seen with me and I’m gettin’ real shot down
        And I’m feeling mean.

        [Chorus]
        No more Mister Nice Guy,
        No more Mister Clean,
        No more Mister Nice Guy,
        They say he’s sick, he’s obscene.

        I got no friends ’cause they read the papers.
        They can’t be seen with me and I’m feelin’ real shot down
        And I’m gettin’ mean.

        No more Mister Nice Guy,
        No more Mister Clean,
        No more Mister Nice Guy,
        They say he’s sick, he’s obscene.

        My dog bit me on the leg today.
        My cat clawed my eyes.
        Ma’s been thrown out of the social circle,
        And dad has to hide.
        I went to church incognito.
        When everybody rose, the Reverend Smith,
        He recognized me,
        And punched me in the nose, he said.

        No more Mister Nice Guy,
        No more Mister Clean,
        No more Mister Nice Guy,
        He said you’re sick, you’re obscene.

        No more Mister Nice Guy,
        No more Mister Clean,
        No more Mister Nice Guy,
        He said you’re sick, you’re obscene.

        Well maybe not literally, but on the political scene….

        Like

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