We dishonor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King when we do not take the time to understand what he stood for beyond the iconic words, “I have a dream”.
We know him as the great man who led a nonviolent revolution in America but we sometimes miss the fact that he spoke hard truths to the white establishment that led to his ultimate demise.
If you haven't listened to his speeches in their entirety, you might be surprised by the pain and frustration he expressed towards political progressives and the White Christian Church. These two groups should have been the greatest allies of the civil rights movement, but many were silent and even resistant to the idea of equality and equity for all.
It is sad to see how little things have changed since the 1960s and the fight for decency and equality continues. The social outrage at the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery only went so far. To understand how little things have changed, these words spoken by Dr. King spoken over 60 years ago still ring true.
Three things you can do to honor the memory of Dr Martin Luther King
- Listen – Take time to listen to his speeches in their entirety, not just sound bites or the highlights of well worn, "I have a Dream".
- His last public speech in April 3, 1968, I have been to the mountaintop (https://youtu.be/DKWCxKq0i1k)
- His last TV interview on NBC https://youtu.be/2xsbt3a7K-8
- Learn - Knowledge is power, read widely. Knowing how systemic racism works and how white supremacy shows up in our modern society. Ignorance is expensive, we suffer a collective loss when we allow racism to continue
Here are a few of my favorite books:
- Fight - Justice and equity are noble goals worth fighting for.