You’re going to see a lot of quotes from MLK Jr. today. Most of them will be along the lines of “I have a dream”, “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last”, and “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. All very positive, loving and uplifting. Do not forget that this is the same man who said “A riot is the language of the unheard” and “1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual”. You CANNOT uplift, honor and respect this man while at the same time condemning those who have been protesting for FAIR TREATMENT of black lives.
Martin Luther King was not only a believer in protests and riots, he LED them. His famous “I have a dream” speech is FROM A PROTEST - the 1963 March on Washington, which was a massive protest with over 250,000 people. The Selma to Montgomery March of 1965 was a protest to register black voters - it was named “Bloody Sunday” as the protesters were confronted with deadly violence from local authorities and white vigilante groups. Alabama state troopers wielding whips, nightsticks and tear gas rushed the group at the Edmund Pettis Bridge and beat them back to Selma. The Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 - a protest march organized by MLK and carried out by Ralph Abernathy in the wake of MLK’s assassination - reminded us of the government’s failure to give freed slaves any land while it used affirmative action to help whites take ownership of 50 million acres of land formerly occupied by Native Americans.
MLK Jr. on riots - “Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community… But most of all, alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, [rioters are] shocking it by abusing property rights.”
Today, remember this incredible man for ALL that he was, not just a string of inspirational quotes.