Sunday, April 06, 2008

If They Want to Be his Buddy, They Should Speak of Him Like He Was

By exalting the accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. into a legendary tale that is annually told, we fail to recognize his humanity - his personal and public struggles - that are similar to yours and mine. By idolizing those whom we honor, we fail to realize that we could go and do likewise ....

Indeed, many of King's colleagues worry, as Vincent Harding puts it, that people today are turning King into a "rather smoothed-off, respectable national hero" whose comfortable, present-day image bears little resemblance to the human King or to the political King of 1965-1968. Hosea Williams says it bluntly: "There is a definite effort on the part of America to change Martin Luther King, Jr., from what he really was about--to make him the Uncle Tom of the century. In my mind, he was the militant of the century."

- -from David Garrow's Epilogue in Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (links to TNGOP added)

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