9 Quotes That Expose The Whitewashed Legacy Of Martin Luther King Jr.

I told my friends of the cloth that I did not believe Christ was meek and lowly but a real living, vital agitator who went into the temple with a lash and a krout and whipped the oppressors of the poor, routed them out of the doors and spilled their blood and got silver on the floor. He told the robbed and misruled and exploited and driven people to disobey their plunderers, he denounced the profiteers, and it was for this that they nailed his quivering body to the cross and spiked it to the gates of Jerusalem, not because he told them to love one another. That was harmless doctrine. But when he touched their profits and denounced them before their people he was marked for crucifixion.

Eugene Debs, Speaking from his prison cell in 1919 while serving time for making anti-war speeches

The whitewashing of history applies to few things as accurately as the legacies of Jesus Christ or Martin Luther King Jr. Have you noticed that all of sudden your conservative uncle Henry is in love with Dr. King? Perhaps he’s sharing Fox News Facebook posts about the civil rights leader, like this one:


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Yet, in nearly the same breath dear old uncle Henry is condemning Black Lives Matter, sympathizing with murderous cops and perpetuating racial stereotypes. The fact of the matter is, if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was alive today these conservatives would dislike the 87-year-old as much as those that used to work for him: Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Rather than truly paying respect to the man’s legacy, the revisionists have hit “reply all” with their own version of a politically correct civil rights movement – so as not to offend their white sensitivities.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a Black Lives Matter protestor. He was one of the originals. He broke the law. He was arrested (nearly 30 times in a decade). He peacefully demonstrated. You cannot honor him and condemn the continuation of his life’s work.

Dr. King spoke out about income inequality, civil rights, social injustice – all things conservatives feel have little merit within the political sphere and therefore have ignored as part of King’s legacy. Because, they’re “not racist” – they celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Here are nine Martin Luther King Jr. quotes that provide a glimpse into the mind of the gifted orator, protestor and civil rights advocate. Yes, he was peaceful but he was also angry, honest, empathetic, powerful and disobedient.

“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”

~Speech at UCLA – 1965

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

~Letter from Birmingham Jail – 1963

“It is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.”

~Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution – 1968
via kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu

King’s house is bombed via kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu

“The question is not if we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or love?”

~Letter from Birmingham Jail – 1963
via kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu

via kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”

~Letter from Birmingham Jail – 1963

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

~Beyond Vietnam – 1967
via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

~Letter from Birmingham Jail – 1963

“Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.”

~Beyond Vietnam – 1967

If conservatives were truly embracing the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. today, I’d be thrilled. I think any good liberal would be jubilant with the thought of progress. Unfortunately, their exuberance regarding the historical figure has little to do with him, at all, and more to do with themselves.

It is said that Alexander Haig, Secretary of State under President Reagan said:

“Let them march all they want as long as they continue to pay their taxes.”

That line is about as honest as anything spoken by a conservative could ever be.

And, while the following text is a rather long excerpt from King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, it is too moving to not share. This communicates perfectly the urgency felt in this fight and what it is REALY about. This is why the “march” continues.

In response to people telling him to wait – saying the country wasn’t ready for such radical ideas of equality and civil rights, King replied:

“We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we stiff creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you go forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.”

Featured image via Wikipedia

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