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Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Honoring Dr. King’s Effective Activism"

87

Revered

by 22 Jurors

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American activist in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his "I Have A Dream" speech. Thanks to his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, he has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism.

Martin Luther King led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president. With the SCLC, King led an unsuccessful struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, in 1962, and organized nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama, that attracted national attention following television news coverage of the brutal police response. King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. There, he established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history.

On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. In 1965, he and the SCLC helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches and the following year, he took the movement north to Chicago. In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled "Beyond Vietnam". King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., called the Poor People's Campaign. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. His death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities. Allegations that James Earl Ray, the man convicted of killing King, had been framed or acted in concert with government agents persisted for decades after the shooting, and the jury of a 1999 civil trial found Loyd Jowers to be complicit in a conspiracy against King. [1]

FBI's attempt to derail King

After delivering his "I Have A Dream Speech," at the 1963 March on Washington, the government's interest of the leader intensified. One FBI memo refers to King as "the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country." Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover feared Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so much he sent King an anonymous letter urging him to commit suicide. FBI records give a detailed account of the organization's efforts to derail King's civil rights work.

In an effort to prove he was under Communist influence, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover spent significant resources monitoring King's movements and eavesdropping on his communications. Attorney General Robert Kennedy gave consent, allowing the organization to break into King's office and home installing phone taps and bugs to track the leader's movements and conversations as well as those of his associates. Although the recordings did not reveal any association with the Communist Party, they did reveal extensive details about his extramarital affairs.

After learning King would be the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, Hoover took his fanatical obsession with obliterating King to the next level. Agents sent the reverend an anonymous note, chastising him for his affairs and implying that he should commit suicide. [1]

FBI's letter to King

Here is the letter delivered to King anonymously by the FBI.

KING,

In view of your low 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 anywhere 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 older 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... 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 — an 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 it (this exact number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite practical significance). 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. [1]

Slide me!

150 characters remaining.

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img Mark Henry posted a review

In reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Dr. King’s legacy, especially with the current levels of racial strife we are seeing while the Obama era comes to end, it is important to look to his example when it comes to effective activism.

A large reason Dr. King is considered such a transformational figure when it comes to civil rights was his focus on individual liberty and his disdain for the judgment of people based on their skin color. Indeed, one of his most famous quotes is “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Sadly, this clashes with what many modern social justice activists (some of whom are unfortunately university educators) advocate for, with some even going as far to consider Dr. King an “Uncle Tom” or “white-washed black man” who wasn’t radical enough in his activism.

In examining King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” which he wrote while unjustly incarcerated by the state for his nonviolent campaign against racial segregation, one starts to see his character. He does not compliment or condemn any person for their identity. He expresses disappointment in the “white moderate” who is more concerned with “order” than true justice. He also condemns the “black nationalist” who has “lost faith in America” and uses divisive rhetoric, dividing more people into the dichotomy “us vs. them.” Nowhere do you see him define racism as “power plus prejudice,” as today’s social justice kooks often do.

King made rational arguments while citing Natural Law, and he expressed calls to action with stirring rhetoric using his tremendous abilities as an orator. He appealed to people’s collective humanity, and ultimately won people’s hearts over. In another famous speech King orates “When we look at modern man, we have to face the fact that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit, which stands in glaring contrast with a scientific and technological abundance. We’ve learned to fly the air as birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas as fish, yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.”

Unfortunately, it seems as if King’s rhetoric hasn’t gone to heart for many of today’s modern activists. In a USA Today piece, lawyer Oliver Thomas boldly declares, “whites killed MLK,” implying a collective responsibility of all whites for the actions of James Earl Ray. Not only is this equivalent to claiming all Muslims were responsible for 9/11 or all men responsible for every sexual assault that happens, it is antithetical to King’s conceptualization of individual character. Thomas is judging people by the color of their skin, not the content of their character.

Other modern activists have condemned efforts at racial reconciliation. In July of 2016, the DC chapter of Black Lives Matter condemned Wichita’s First Step Community Cookout, an effort done by the local police and racial activists at community relations building. In a Washington Post piece, Barbara Reynolds, author and civil rights activist of the 1960s, questions the divisiveness of the Black Lives Matter movement, while sympathizing with much of their cause. “Trained in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr., we were nonviolent activists who won hearts by conveying respectability and changed laws by delivering a message of love and unity. BLM seems intent on rejecting our proven methods. This movement is ignoring what our history has taught,” she laments, contrasting her generation with modern activists.

In honor of Dr. King on his holiday, we should remember and look to the example of Dr. King and other civil rights activists who engaged in effective activism, winning over minds and hearts, and ultimately leading to positive social change. While there have been more tumultuous times in our nation’s history, we are still facing many challenges today when it comes to civil rights and the freedom of our fellow brothers and sisters, and it will take those dedicated to effective activism and change to continue Dr. King’s amazing legacy.

4 days ago
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img Ahmed Malik posted a review

It would've been Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 88th birthday today and I imagine, had he been alive, he would acknowledge the progress we've made in race relations in this country, even if we still have not fully reached the point where people are judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Historically, social justice has been defined by fairness, opportunity and equality of opportunity — ideas that manifested itself in very concrete ways. Progressives once fought the existing economic and social order tooth and nail and won on issues ranging from child labor laws, minimum wage, pay equity between sexes, and racial segregation laws.

MLK Jr. was certainly the ultimate social justice warrior but based on his speeches and writings, I'd guess that he'd find the antics of today's self-proclaimed torch bearers of progressivism pretty troubling.

If he were alive today, he'd be flabbergasted by the banal laundry list of things now deemed "racist," the minority students requesting for racially-segregated university housing and certainly, the use of violence in protests and demonstrations for progressive causes (riots in Ferguson, Dallas shooting, campus protests against Milo, etc.).

And then there's identity politics which precisely flies in the face of "judging people by the content of their character." It determines who is privileged or not, who is worthy of having their ideas heard based on the identity of the "-splainer," and even who can be a racist, simply by the color of their skin.

America isn’t an ethnicity, a race, a religion, or even a sexual orientation. America is an idea that a diverse group of free people can govern itself with respect for each other. The fact that both the Left and Right have legitimate reasons to claim Dr. King as a figurehead of their respective tribes is testament to the fact that he was a uniting figure. He is an American hero and symbol for what's great about this country because he clung fiercely to only one identity - American, and he peacefully and eloquently fought for the right of all to identify as such. Identity politics is the difference between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X. One stood above identity politics and was able to rally a nation for the cause of social justice, the other created resentment and divisiveness that still haunts our society today.

So on this Martin Luther King Jr. day, I hope to see the day that "social justice" will no longer be a dirty word, that we hold on to that famous American creed of pluralism - E pluribus unum, Latin for "Out of many one" - etched on our greenbacks, that both Trump conservatives and social justice progressives will reject the identitarian tactics that continue to balkanize the American identity.

5 days ago

Ng Man Does he overrated in US?

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img Ng Man posted a review

Don't understand why Americans so love with him

5 days ago
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img Justin Thomas posted a review

Every year on the third Monday of January, Americans of all races, backgrounds and ideologies celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is rightly lionized and sanctified by whites as well as blacks, by Republicans as well as Democrats.

It is easy to forget that, until fairly recently, many white Americans loathed Dr. King. They perceived him as a rabble rouser and an agitator; some rejoiced in his assassination in April 1968. How they got from loathing to loving is less a story about growing tolerance and diminishing racism, and more about the ways that Dr. King’s legacy has been scrubbed and blunted.

The Dr. King we remember today is particularly at odds with his radical turn in his last years. In 1967 he denounced the Vietnam War and warned that America was courting “spiritual death.” In early 1968 he planned the Poor People’s Campaign, in which millions of impoverished Americans — black, white and Latino — would gather in Washington for an enormous demonstration. He called for $30 billion annually in antipoverty spending, and asked Congress to guarantee an income for each American. To many Americans, this sounded like socialist lunacy.

Dr. King spent his final days in Memphis, marching with striking sanitation workers. On March 28, 1968, some marchers behind him turned violent. His critics believed their argument had been proved — that Dr. King’s claims to nonviolence were so much pretense. When he was killed a week later, Senator Strom Thurmond, Republican of South Carolina, told an audience that Dr. King was “an outside agitator, bent on stirring people up.” Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, described Dr. King’s killing as a “great tragedy that began when we began compromising with law and order, and people started choosing which laws they’d break.”

But Dr. King’s legacy — the meaning of “Martin Luther King” in the popular mind — began to change as soon as the man himself left us. As groups like the Black Panthers and the Weathermen called for armed resistance, Dr. King’s peaceful methods looked more appealing. Many white Americans focused on one line of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech — that he longed for the day when his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” — and molded him into a gentle champion of colorblindness.

 
 
The King holiday was both cause and effect of this selective appropriation. Congressman John Conyers, a Democrat from Michigan, first proposed a holiday bill in 1968, and he offered the legislation virtually every year thereafter. In 1983, it finally neared passage. Though Reagan, by then president, opposed the holiday, congressional Republicans realized that endorsing the bill could help to burnish their party’s civil rights bona fides. The House passed the legislation by a wide margin.

But the debate in the Senate did Republicans no favors. Jesse Helms, Republican of North Carolina, filibustered the bill, saying that Dr. King “appears to have welcomed collaboration with Communists” and distributed a 300-page packet detailing Dr. King’s supposed treachery. Mr. Helms eventually ended his filibuster, and on Oct. 19 the Senate passed the holiday bill.

Dr. King’s opponents weren’t done. The Conservative Caucus collected 43,000 signatures on a petition urging Reagan to veto the holiday. But Reagan signed the bill anyway — in large part because, Senator Helms aside, many conservatives had “discovered,” and embraced, a useful version of Dr. King.

That embrace tightened during the battle over affirmative action. On Jan. 15, 1986, days before the first Martin Luther King Day, Attorney General Edwin Meese proposed to eliminate minority hiring goals for federal contractors. Using words that would be repeated, in one form or another, throughout the affirmative-action debate, Mr. Meese claimed that his proposal was “very consistent with what Dr. King had in mind.”

In 1996, Louisiana’s governor signed an executive order to halt affirmative action programs. “King sort of believed like I do,” said Mike Foster, a Republican. “I can’t find anywhere in his writings that he wanted reverse discrimination.” (Mr. Foster’s search apparently did not include Dr. King’s book “Where Do We Go From Here?” in which he explained: “A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him.”)

This reappropriation continues today. In an attack on Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, for kneeling in protest during the national anthem, the Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney said that people like Mr. Kaepernick should “move to another country.” Mr. Swinney recommended that protesters heed Dr. King’s shining example: “I think the answer to our problems is exactly what they were for Martin Luther King when he changed the world. Love, peace, education, tolerance of others, Jesus” — as if Dr. King never criticized his country or paralyzed American cities with campaigns of civil disobedience.

In this season of political polarization, it is tempting to hope that we can unite in celebration of Dr. King. But celebrators ought to know whom they are honoring. Dr. King died for striking garbage workers and beseeched his government to protect the vulnerable. He had a message for those who would target immigrants or wall off America from the world. In a 1967 speech, he declared: “Our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than national.” Instead of policing their borders, nations should “develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole.”

The alternative was unacceptable. “History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate.” To honor Dr. King is to follow a different path.

5 days ago
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img Ian Da Silva posted a review

On Martin Luther King day, it's worth remembering not just the man and his accomplishments, but also the hurdles he was up against. And one of the civil rights leader's most insidious foes was the federal government itself. Not only did government policies encourage the systemic racism that King fought, but federal law enforcement actively sought to marginalize Dr. King.

Even if that meant killing him.

This is going to sound like a conspiracy theory, but it's actually true. In 1964, Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The FBI was so eager to stop this from happening that they concocted a plan to blackmail King into committing suicide before he could receive the award. They wiretapped his homes and hotel rooms, recording evidence of King's extramarital liaisons. A deputy for J Edgar Hoover then wrote a vicious letter to King with the tapes enclosed, and sent it to him anonymously.

“You will find on the record for all time your filthy, dirty, evil companions, male and females giving expression with you to your hidious [sic] abnormalities. It is all there on the record, your sexual orgies. Listen to yourself you filthy, abnormal animal. You are on the record. You have been on the record – all your adulterous acts, your sexual orgies extending far into the past. This one is but a tiny sample... you are on the record. King you are done.”

It concludes by urging King to take his own life within 34 days – a reference to a date on which he was due to collect the Nobel Peace Prize in Sweden. In 1976, a post-Watergate Senate hearing into government use of "dirty tricks" verified the letter was indeed an FBI attempt to get King to kill himself.

5 days ago
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img May Sampsons posted a review

If it weren't for him, the United States would still probably be ruled by racism.

on September 6, 2016

Winnie Kirsch No way. He gave a great speech. Stop overrating him.

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img Roni Lagnada posted a review

There are brilliant moments in human history and magical moments in our lives, when our perception of the world is crystal clear and "time" itself seems to stand still! When these events occur, we remember exactly where we were and what was transpiring around us! On Wednesday, August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. created an electrifying and spectacular moment in human history when he delivered his internationally famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Considered to be the best speech of the 20th century, it echoed throughout the entire world and continues to reverberate through time and the soul of humanity today! 

on August 12, 2016
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img Roni Lagnada posted a review

One of the main leaders of the American civil rights movement, a political activist, a Baptist minister, and was one of America's greatest orators. His intelligence was so amazing and great

on July 30, 2016
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Moral.panjury.com

Hitler may be a badass, but he's downright evil. Moral Indicator is, as its name suggests, a measurement of someone's morality. Is he a good guy? Is he a villain? You decide!

img Anonymous posted a review

Martin Luther King, Jr was arguably "lawful" because he worked around the constraints of the laws. He broke no law but chose to confront the problems of our laws. Martin Luther King, JR was exceptionally brave in facing the threats from the FBI. He did not back down until he was murdered by the FBI.

on January 20, 2016
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Martin Luther King, Jr.

Honoring Dr. King’s Effective Activism
Book rating: 87.9 out of 100 with 22 ratings