Restoring Martin Luther King’s Image and Legacy

January 13, 2011

The King 2011 celebration will more than likely follow the template of the past, sanitizing his teaching, censoring his more radical speeches, de-contextualizing King from his works and critique of American society, and repackaging his image to make him a non controversial hero. To the contrary, Martin Luther King (MLK) was against the established order because it was unjust, racist, and failed to live-up to its declaration of intent as a nation. Hence, King’s criticism of America was aimed at helping the nation evolved toward a more “perfect union,” i.e., “Saving the Soul of America.” King entitled the sermon he as to deliver the Sunday before he was killed, “Why America May Go to Hell.”

King believed that America the madness of militarism was destroying American society, making it a sponsor of state terrorism.

And I am sad to say that the nation in which we live is the supreme culprit. And I’m going to continue to say it to America, because I love this country too much to see the drift that it has taken. God didn’t call America to do what she’s doing in the world now. God didn’t call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war. There’s a war in Vietnam, and we are criminals in that war. We have committed more war crimes almost than any sensation in the world. And I’m going to continue to say it. We won’t stop it, because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has the priority to put nations in their place. The God that I worship has a way of saying, “Don’t play with me!

King taught all of America, but in particular blacks that they had a moral obligation to struggle against evil and injustice.

To accept passively and unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor. Noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.  The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber. Religion reminds man that he is his brother’s keeper. To accept injustice or segregation is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right. It is a way of allowing his conscience to fall asleep. At this moment the oppressed fails to be his brother’s keeper. So acquiescence-often the easier way- is not the moral way. It is the way of the coward.

King was an apostle of justice and taught that injustice had to be confronted all the time.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

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