Saturday, April 5, 2008

Martin Luther King III Gets the Point

The British newspaper The Independent is a useful counterpoint to our increasingly tabloid press.

This comes from its coverage of the 40th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination.

...from re-reading his father's sermons and speeches, King III learned much about the philosophy of non-violence. He cut his own teeth as a public speaker and organiser during his college years, and by co-ordinating the annual celebration of his father's January birthday – Martin Luther King Day.

In 2006 he founded Realizing the Dream, an organisation devoted to tackling poverty, one of the "triple evils" identified by Dr King before his murder. Forty years on, those triple evils of racism, poverty and militarism still loom large.

Dr King's best-known achievements – the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act, specifically – tend to overshadow his later battles, fought in 1967 and 1968, against poverty and the Vietnam War. The latter position made him new enemies in the establishment, including J Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI.

"We've made great strides race-wise, but we ignore the poor," says King III. "Hurricane Katrina showed the world there were Americans living in poverty. Yet even now our federal government acts as if poverty doesn't exist. If we'd spent some of the money we spent on the military in Afghanistan and Iraq on social services and business development instead, then maybe our economy wouldn't be so bad."

"We're still a long way from my father's dream of freedom and justice and equality for all."

Militarism, meanwhile, has run rampant. When it comes to King's views on the War on Terror, Dr King's principles of non-violence apply.

"We had the world's attention after September 11th, the world's empathy and sensitivity," he says. "We squandered it. Everyone knew we could strike and knock people out, so why didn't we show the world that when you're attacked you don't always have to retaliate in kind? Maybe we need to reach out, try to understand and build relationships. That's leadership."

Find the whole story here.

1 comment:

sybil law said...

You are one smart man, too.