Do You Really Want To Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.?

From: Ronny Koch ([email protected])

As the nation gears up to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin
Luther King, I would like to encourage all Americans - but
particularly my fellow white Americans - to consider who this
man really was and why he was murdered.

You see, most white Americans have reached a point where they
can celebrate Dr. King, but that is ONLY because King has been
sanitized, stripped of his prophetic zeal, made palatable to
whites who 40 years ago may have been among the throngs of fools
casting epithets, bricks, and firebombs at Dr. King and his

Make no mistake about it; Martin Luther King was a radical. If
he were alive today, most people in power (read: white people)
would hate him, would hate what he was saying, and would hate
what he was willing to die for.

We watch Dr. King's famous "I have a dream" speech and it
inspires us, it makes us feel warm and fuzzy. But if that is all
Dr. King did - make people feel warm and fuzzy - why was he so

Consider the following from the book, "The FBI and Martin Luther
King, Jr.: From Solo to Memphis," by David J. Garrow.

"On November 18, 1964, FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover publically
called Martin Luther King, Jr. 'the most notorious liar' in
America. Three days later, one of Hoover's top assistants wrote
and sent the following anonymous letter to King. Included with
the letter was an incriminating tape recording which the FBI had
obtained by 'bugging' King's hotel rooms.

In view of your grade... I will not dignify your name with
either a Mr. or a Reverend or a Dr. And, your last name calls to
mind only the type of King such as King Henry the VIII...

King, look into your heart. You know you are a complete fraud
and a great liability to all of us Negroes. White people in this
country have enough frauds of their own but I am sure they don't
have one at this time that is any near your equal. You are no
clergyman and you know it. I repeat you are a colossal fraud and
an evil, vicious one at that. You could not believe in God...
Clearly you don't believe in any personal moral principles.

King, like all frauds your end is approaching. You could have
been our greatest leader. You, even at an early age have turned
out to be not a leader but a dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile.
We will now have to depend on our old leaders like Wilkins a man
of character and thank God we have others like him. But you are
done. Your "honorary" degrees, your Nobel Prize (what a grim
farce) and other awards will not save you. King, I repeat you
are done.

No person can overcome facts, not even a fraud like yourself...
I repeat- no person can argue successfully against facts. You
are finished... Satan could not do more. What incredible
evilness... King you are done.

The American public, the church organizations that have been
helping - Protestant, Catholic and Jews will know you for what
you are - evil, abnormal beast. So will others who have backed
you. You are done.

King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what
it is. You have just 34 days in which to do (this exact number
has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite
practical significant [sic]). You are done. There is but one way
out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal
fraudulent self is bared to the nation."

Read those words again. Really, stop and read them. If Dr. King
was someone who made us feel warm and fuzzy; if Dr. King was
someone who could and should be celebrated; if Dr. King was
someone who simply inspired people; then why would such a
disgusting letter be written to him by the FBI? Why would people
have thrown bricks and M80s at him? Why was he jailed? Why were
his followers beaten? Why was he cut down by an assassin's
bullet on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis?

Why? Because he was a radical; because he preached God's good
news to the poor; because he made people who benefited from the
status quo incredibly uncomfortable; and like all the great
prophets before him, he was killed for doing these.

So instead of celebrating Martin Luther King as the inspiring
leader that makes you feel good, I encourage you to celebrate
him honestly, and honor Martin Luther King as the revolutionary
that he truly was.

A simple way of doing this might be to consider what Dr. King
may have stood for today and what he might have said about the
current state of affairs in our nation.

I would argue that it is fair to say, based on his words and
example, that if Dr. King were alive in 2011, he would say that:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are unjust.

The disparity of wealth between the rich and the poor in America
is unjust.

The influence of corporate money in American politics is unjust.

And so on...

As he did when he was alive, Dr. King would prophetically speak
the truth of God and he would demand that these wrongs of war,
economic injustice and failures in democracy, be set right. And
Dr. King would go beyond words, he would take action - he would
put his feet in the street and his body on the line and he would
rally others to do so. And in doing these things, Dr. King would
encourage the wrath of the majority in our nation, particularly
those who benefit from the status quo, and they would hate him
for it and they would wish him dead.

Have the courage to think of that on January 17th.

That is what this national holiday should be about - deep
reflection on Dr. King's life and mission and whether or not
each (or any) of us has the desire and the courage to truly
bring his dream to reality in these United States of America.

Peace (and Justice),

Jim Keady;

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