Sunday, January 15, 2012

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. on his 83rd birthday

Martin Luther King Jr. in 1966

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia 83 years ago today on January 15, 1929. He would grow up to be a Baptist minister and civil rights leader and die by an assassins bullet at the age of 39 on April 4, 1968. Both the FBI and KGB carried out active measures against this man in an effort to destroy him and his reputation.

Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mike Douglas show in 1967

Tomorrow the United States will observe Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday since 1986 and in 2011 a monument to Martin Luther King Jr. was unveiled on the national mall.

Martin Luther King Jr. was brought into the civil rights struggle by the bus boycott that arose out of an act of nonviolent resistance by Rosa Parks on a segregated bus on December 1, 1955. His ability to organize a national social movement begins with the initial steps to organize the Montgomery bus boycott.

Malcolm X on Martin Luther King Jr.

He was criticized by Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael for his nonviolent stand and accused Martin Luther King Jr. of being passive but in fact believed in the importance of having an aggressive attitude.

Martin Luther King Jr. responds to Malcolm X

The critiques against Martin Luther King Jr. and nonviolence are of importance today because around the world in Egypt, Tunisia, Burma, Cuba and elsewhere movements have emerged that are inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.'s example of nonviolent struggle. In the United States elements within the Occupy Wall Street movement have embraced Martin Luther King Jr. and are organizing acts of remembrance on his birthday.

At the same time critical voices have arisen that advocate violence. The historical record surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. and the black power movement demonstrates the success of nonviolent resistance and the failure of violent resistance in achieving the goals of black empowerment.

Diane Nash, a great pioneer of nonviolence from the sit-ins to the Selma march, rejected nonviolence and took up with the siren call of Black Power. Nash described her reasoning:
"If we've done all this through nonviolence, think what we could do if we were just willing to be urban guerrillas and knock over a few banks. [...] "Of course, ten years later I looked up and I hadn't knocked over any banks and I hadn't been a guerilla. I hadn't even been to the rifle range. But I had withdrawn from this painful, creative engagement with nonviolence and democracy behind a big smokescreen of noise."
In addition to deactivating serious activists the lure of violence and urban guerrilla warfare would exact a terrible cost. According to Virginia Postrel, from 1964 to 1971, there were more than 750 riots, killing 228 people and injuring 12,741 others. After more than 15,000 separate incidents of arson, many black urban neighborhoods were in ruins. The end results were ruined neighborhoods; an explosion in crime; and increased poverty.



  2. Find the answer here:

  3. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows.

    MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., A Testament of Hope