Why Martin Luther King, Jr. Still Matters

, Malcolm A. Kline, 1 Comment

photo by US Embassy New Delhi

It is startling to realize how much the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. accomplished in a life span that did not even reach 40 years.

At the year’s Modern Language Association (MLA) convention, Adrienne Brown of the University of Chicago remembered, arguably, one of Dr. King’s less successful crusades. In 1966 Dr. King and his wife Coretta moved into the dilapidated housing Chicago’s blacks endured and attempted to rehabilitate it and get the attention of the municipal administration of Chicago mayor Richard Daley.

Andrew Young, who worked with Dr. King, remembered that babies in the projects were wrapped in newspaper rather than blankets. Dr. King eventually did get the attention of the Daley administration, and compromises on the housing front, from Chicago’s legendary political boss.

What got Daley’s attention was the widely circulated photo of Dr. King getting a rock thrown at him at a demonstration. “Mayor Daley did not want to be the Bull Connor of Chicago,” Brown opined.

Most English departments are represented at the MLA along with the various “studies” that proliferate in academe. Brown herself is an assistant professor at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at the University of Chicago.

Photo by U.S. Embassy New Delhi

 

One Response

  1. Jim Austin

    January 17, 2017 12:30 am

    Each year we hear of Martin Luther King’s dreams of “freedom,” “liberty,” “justice,” “equality,” “brotherhood,” “peace.” King has tried to give specific meaning to his words. However, such efforts rarely made it past the editor’s cutting knife.

    When King opposed the Vietnam War, he said “These are revolutionary times, All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the womb a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born…We in the West must support these revolutions.”

    This was his description of such progressive movements as the Viet Cong, the Pathet Lao, the Khmer Rouge and other such Third World liberation movements.

    The words were intended for the entire world. but an admiring media deliberately suppressed them. They did not consider the American people ready to understand a champion of peace and freedom siding with totalitarian movements.

    From the beginning King was a media hero. Reporters and TV cameras followed him about, always at his beck and call. However, during the last year of his life, King was a fading star as news reporters rushed their cameras and microphones to black militants whose threats of murder and mayhem seemed more fascinating then King’s words of nonviolence.

    Had he lived, he would undoubtedly still be up there with great civil rights luminaries like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

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