I am blessed with many mentors.
One of them for me is journalist, Barrington Salmon, of The Final Call and more media outlets, who recently shared something with me regarding the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.
He expressed fatigue with the very American racist lie fed by accommodationists trying to sanitize who MLK is and what he truly represented.
Unlike the passive narrative of the “Dreamer” who saw the best in America and spoke it as a salve for his own real persecution, MLK was a vocal and avowed enemy.
Not just of racism and racial domination, that is too simplified.
No, he spoke out loudly against the oppressive nature of American capitalism; the real elephant in the room.
MLK knew that the biggest lie was that our human differences were only skin deep. He understood that capitalism is only sustained by a class system which means someone must do the work.
For the birth of this nation, Afrikaans were that chattel. Also, poor Whites. That union, sans the lie of white supremacy, is a powerful unifying tool.
MLK knew that a focus on this would usurp the foundations this country is built upon.
He was no shrinking violet and spoke as much from many a pulpit.
In a speech to the Negro American Labor Council, 1961, MLH protested:
”We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power … this means a revolution of values and other things.
“We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order.”
Additionally, in a speech to the SCLC Board, March 30, 1967:
“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective – the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed matter – the guaranteed income …
“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”
This is the comprehensive version of MLK, the 2.0 they never want your brain to upgrade.
Freeze framing him in a pseudo fantasy state of optimism is convenient and pacifying. Since we live in a state where we can say the quiet parts out loud, don’t forget this one.
Not all martyrs are meant to fit into an American pie sized box.