Tag Archives: Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King more than starry-eyed dreamer

Monday, Jan. 16, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr. ~ January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

I listen to Martin Luther King’s speeches and sermons over and over again like some people listen to popular songs.

I have my favorites, such as “The Other America,” “Where Do We Go from Here,” “The Drum Major Instinct,” and “How Long, Not Long.” I like these better than “I Have a Dream” because they have more substance.

In “The Drum Major” sermon, King said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve” — regardless of your station in life. In “The Other America” speech, King preached about wasting billions on an “ill-considered war” while neglecting the poor here in America.

When you examine the levels of poverty and unemployment in the nation today, I believe that King would determine that the nation had failed to heed his vision of jobs, justice and peace.

These days it’s hard to compete with the mainstream’s success in making King just a starry-eyed “dreamer” and a commercial commodity.

I was watching a football game during the holiday season when a commercial from one of the major retail chains announcing its MLK Day Sale popped up on the screen. It didn’t even use an image of King, just the initials “MLK,” accompanied by an array of appliances marked down for “the one-day event.”

Looking back to the dedication of the King Memorial on the Mall in Washington this past October, you couldn’t ignore the many corporate sponsors of the monument. The list of supporters was a who’s who of American business — General Motors, Tommy Hilfiger, Verizon, General Electric and Wal-Mart, just to name a few.

Even so, I’m always thankful when Martin Luther King Jr. Day comes around. Whatever the advertisers try to sell you and the politicians try to tell you, King’s message of unconditional love and nonviolent redemptive good and his steadfast attack on the evils of racism, poverty and militarism just cannot be ignored.

They can try to co-opt him, but his image is always going to look odd next to a washing machine or a hamburger or a self-serving politician.

Gray is a writer for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine. E-mail: pmproj@progressive.org; website: www.progressive.org.

South Carolina, MLK, Black America’s Invisibility

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Filed under American Culture, American Politics, American Progressive Politics, Black Culture | United States, Black Politics, Civil Rights, Historic Black Politics & Figures, Historic Photos - People, Human Rights, Political Ideology, racism

Bail Out the People Not the Banks

In Memory of Martin Luther King, Jr: Announcing a NATIONAL  


Moratorium on Evictions & Foreclosures



Bring the Troops Home

Housing & Healthcare
Are a right

No Transit
Fare Hike


Bail out Students and YOUTH




The March on Wall Street was one of the events approved by hundreds of activists at Fight Back conferences in NYC in LA in January. There will be a report back from the conferences at the Feb. 18 planning meeting.

March On

Wall Street

Friday APRIL 3 & Saturday APRIL 4


Wed., February 18 – 7 P.M.
CUNY Graduate Center
365 5th Ave., between 34th & 35th St.
(you’ll need ID to get into the building)
Trains:  N, R, W, B, F to 34th St.; PATH to 33rd St.

March on Wall Street on the Anniversary on the day Martin Luther King gave his life fighting for social and economic justice. Why? Because we must demand that the needs of the people come before the greed of the super rich. Millions are jobless and homeless, and millions more will be living on the streets if the government continues to waste trillions of dollars on saving wealthy bankers instead of saving people.

And just as King knew that the struggle for civil rights at home had to also be part of the struggle against war abroad, he understood that no one, regardless of their race would be free until everyone had the right to a decent paying job or an income for those unable to work. Most importantly, King also understood that “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” The time for suffering in silence has come to an end. Nothing will change unless our desperation and anger is channeled into a mighty movement that unites and fights.  It’s time to march on Wall St. Come to the march, and tell everyone you know to come with you. Continue reading

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Divestment from Israel | By Kevin Alexander Gray

Barack Obama’s inauguration coming as we celebrate of Martin Luther King Day predictably draws linkages between the two. Many use Obama’s election to claim a realization of the “dream.”  Others mumble something about a post-racial America. I suspect that King, if alive, would reject such nonsense. Although when asked “who he thought King would support” in the 2008 primary campaign Obama made a good case for answering “Nobody,” it is possible that King may have supported Obama.

King was a politician of sorts, although not so much at the time of his assassination. We love King now, but at the end of his life he wasn’t so popular.  Younger activists criticized him and called him names such as “Da Lord” – mocking his once high place in civil rights politics. President Lyndon B. Johnson and a host of government officials, local and national, condemned him when he spoke out against the Vietnam War.   King was not universally cheered when he marched, to his death, with the garbage workers in Memphis striking for fair wages and respect.  Truth be told, he was jeered, even by some blacks.

Sure, we love King now, but there was a time when people turned their back on him and his message. Continue reading

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Filed under Free Palestine