I’m going to Knoxville this year to keynote a Tennessee Jobs With Justice celebration which I am very excited about. I always love to go back to Tennessee.
Corporate America spends tons of money to convince us that Dr. King fits their interests — especially the corporate interests of “Dr. King the Dreamer.” They will try to make us believe that Dr. King was but a Dreamer, dreaming of a country and time where we can all just get along.
You’d do well, my sisters and brothers in struggle, to take a hard look at the real Dr. King — the Dr. King of his own words and deeds.
- Why don’t we all read Letter from Birmingham Jail again in which Dr. King challenges the white clergy of Birmingham to start living the revolutionary Gospel?
- Why don’t we all listen to his speech at the 1963 March on Washington that challenged a nation to turn from the national sin of racism and crushing capitalism?
- Why don’t we listen to his April 3, 1968 speech at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ where he both predicted his own death and sought to sow hope in the hearts and souls of people grown weary in a long, exhausting, consuming struggle.
- Or read one of Taylor Branch’s great volumes of Dr. King’s biography.
If you can read my friend Michael Honey’s great book about the Memphis sanitation strike called Going Down Jericho Road, which looks at Dr. King’s last campaign and death through the lens of the strikers and their strike — a strike that shook the racist foundation of Memphis.
Inoculate yourself against the puffy cloud dreamer image corporate America would have you believe.
Steel yourself with his story, his agenda, his mission not only to free all of us from racism, but to free us from poverty, war, hatred, and the dark hearted politics of anger, reaction, and racism.
Photo source: Minnesota Historical Society
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