Why We Remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In History, Human Rights and the Constitution on January 17, 2011 at 16:52

When America celebrates our holidays such as Martin Luther King Day, it is important to remember why we celebrate.

Are we celebrating a man who helped focus the nation on racial inequality? Are we celebrating a movement that helped make America a more tolerant place despite our continued failings? Are we celebrating a man who embodied the sacrifice that called all Americans to give in the name of equality and peace? Let us not forget all the people in the movement, men, women, blacks, Jews, Whites, Asian, Native Americans, everyone. We celebrate a movement for which King was a leader, not just the man himself. Let us not forget the lessons King and so many others have taught us.

Howard Zinn on Dr. King and President Obama:

Tex Shelters



  1. Nicely Done, Tex 😀

  2. Nicely done Blog Tex, but. I personally don’t see America as a more tolerant place nor do I see the plight of the Black man improved any from Dr. King’s time and today, in fact I things as worse in many respects. Yes we for the most part did away with lynching, we also have gone a long way to relegating the N-word to the trash heap of history. That said things have not got any better. President Obama you say? No him being President doesn’t prove anything except that he lived a more privileged life than most black men. The Black community still suffers from overwhelmingly high unemployment compared to other races, they also tend to rank lowest in education when compared to other races, while they have little to worry about getting lynched today they still have to worry about being shot or imprisoned in higher numbers than any race. Dr. King had a fantastic dream, too bad we as a nation have done nothing of relevance to achieve it. I think the biggest stumbling block to equality is education, President Obama seems to have done quite well with his opportunities. Tex we sent a man to the moon in less than a decade; We surely should have been able to educate a group of underprivileged people in a generation. IMO we have failed at his dream, IMO that we owe it to him to achieve it. IMO e won’t get there by set-a-sides, affirmative action was never the answer if it was we would be there.

    • Jake,

      And King’s vision is still worth remembering and we can agree that Obama would be a better president if he heeded King’s words more than Wall Street’s.

      Yes, there are still problems despite the voting rights and civil rights acts and there are a few more anti-discrimination laws on the books, but good luck paying for lawyer.

      Tex Shelters

  3. The government killed him, and made it a holiday on the day they did

    And then American morons go out and celebrate it.

    What a pitiful, shameful and degrading spectacle.

    • Chris,

      Even if that conspiracy is true, which I have yet to see valid, verifiable information for, King’s ideas and methods are worth emulating.

      Too bad Obama didn’t get that message of peace from King and only got about 10% of his oratory skills.

      Tex Shelters

  4. As someone who marched with Martin, I strongly encourage those who are too young to remember, to study his words, very carefully. Do not rely upon youtube videos and the carefully-edited white-washed bits paraded out each January by the MSM. Do not rely on what you can find online once you get past the propaganda that now leads in the search results. Find written copies of his speeches. Especially those speeches where the tapes have conveniently been degraded and disappeared. One excellent written collection of his speeches on labor and Economic Justice is “All Labor Has Dignity”.

    What most forget, and what many would prefer we do not recall is that Martin did not only challenge the oppressive chains of racism, he went on to challenge the miliary-industrial complex and the chains which bind all poor and working people.

    Unable to segregate his “moral concern” (see his “The Other America” speech at Stanford, 1967), he understood the systemic roots of oppression and could not, in all conscience, fail to stand up against All injustice: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    He did not just stand up for Civil Rights and stand up against the military-industrial complex, he went on to embrace democratic socialism and raise his voice, loudly, about Economic Justice. Many do not wish us to remember that he became miraculously successful in drawing together people across the racial divides as he called for Economic Justice.

    It was precisely this success which led to his death. He became far too dangerous to those who have long nurtured divisiveness among The People in hopes of ensuring their ability to opppress us all.

    If you wish to truly honor Dr. King, do not place him upon a pedestal. Hero worship is simply a way of trying to absolve ourselves of our own responsiblities.

    Martin was just a man. A man who made the choice to take a stand, over and over and over again, each and every day. A man who chose to take a stand, over and over and over again, each and every day, no matter what the cost.

    When we recognize that he was just a man, we must then realize that we, too, can choose to take a stand.

    We do not truly honor Martin when we simply applaud him. We truly honor him when we emulate him.

    Enough with the hand-wringing that Martin no longer stands amongst us. Martin existed because one by one by one, ordinary people reached a place where they said, “Enough!” Changed occurred in kitchens and living rooms where people gathered to paint signs and debate political philosophies in a passionate, often heated, but ever joyous manner. And then we hit the streets.

    Was it brutal? Were many hurt? Did some of us die? Yes.

    One thing that does not seem to be passed on to young people is this: We also had one heck of a lot of fun.

    If you are waiting for a Martin to lead you before you stand up, you might as well wait for Martians to land and intervene. Only after The People begin to stand up and show that they are ready, show that they truly deserve a Martin will he or she appear.

    • WOW.

      Well said !!!

    • Little Sun,

      How true. Every community has leaders that stand up to injustice. And it’s good to remember his inclusiveness. Certainly, many of his followers were, are, African American. But people of all stripes find the message powerful, the sacrifice for equality and peace by so many. And, after the death of Howard Zinn, who joined the civil rights movement and was let go by Spelman College (a black liberal art college) for siding with students over their right’s protest, I thought it would be good to play this interview.

      As you know, I love the Beyond Vietnam speech. The Other America is also a great one. I am not familiar with the labor speech as I should be. I will look it up. Thanks!!

      A little interlude by Gang of Four called “Not Great Men” is called for here:

      No weak men in the books at home
      The strong men who have made the world
      History lives on the books at home
      The books at home

      It’s not made by great men :

      The past lives on in your front room
      The poor still weak the rich still rule
      History lives in the books at home
      The books at home etc.

      Maybe it’s for great bands?


      Tex Shelters

      • “All Labor Has Dignity” is a collection of his speeches on labor and economic justice. In the white-washing process since his death, the film and audio of many of these speeches are mysteriously not available and few of them can be found online.

        Many would really, really not like us to recall that toward the end of his life, amongst friends, Dr. King began to call himself a democratic socialist or that his speeches were increasingly reflective of that stance.

        I don’t know where you lived, but when I last saw him, there were many many many white faces in the crowds. Not just your usual white college students and such who supported civil rights and anti-war demonstrations, but a ton of white poor and working folks who hadn’t been political before. They were drawn by his words on Economic Justice.

        As to the conspiracy someone else mentioned. On December 8, 1999, a Memphis jury ruled that there was a conspiracy:

        Memphis jury finds that a conspiracy led to Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination

        Jury Backs King Conspiracy Theory

        Memphis is still not known for being exactly a liberal bastion, mind you…

        And, yes, the DOJ’s investigation had different results.

        But unlike many other things labeled “conspiracy theories”, it would appear this one is not entirely built on speculation.

        • Little Sun,

          I’ll check it out. Here’s a link so some info and articles about “The MLK you don’t see on TV” at Disinformation Press with Links to FAIR.

          Tex Shelters

          • Thanks. I subscribe to FAIR so I saw that. It was a good article but the title got my hopes up that they had more on his economic justice, pro-union speeches that have been largely disappeared. It would be nice to be able to post some of those without having to type the whole texts from a book. It would sure quickly hush up the contingent of Republicans who are trying to super white-wash and claim him. They do have a link to “Beyond Viet Nam”, though.(For those that don’t know FAIR, we’re talking about the newswatch organization not the racist organization by same name).

            • Yes, I was hoping for more too, but alas. And I thought Disinformation or Alternative Tentacles would have some of those speeches on a CD or DVD. No luck so far. I will keep you posted.

              Tex Shelters

        • Jury’s get things wrong all the time, and sadly the American people are big into Conspiracy theories.

          BTW, there were no aliens at area 51, Bush did not blow up the towers and Obama is a US Citizen.

          • That you compare the evidence in this case to the things you mention, tells me you have not at all followed the details of this particular case.

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