Saturday, April 20, 2013

How Martin Luther King became angry

I was asked to recite the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at Calvary Baptist Church’s Day of Remembrance several years ago. I said no.

I figured that Martin Luther King has written hundreds of speeches and thousands of sermons. There had to be at least one other one worthy of reciting. They let me do my research to come up with an alternative speech.

After a lot of reading, the one that captured my attention was the ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’. 

For the first time, I saw a side of MLK that I was seeking. 

I had a hard time accepting the fact that he was a happy go lucky, tree hugging, peaceful man. He had gone through too much mess to just turn the other cheek at every transgression toward him. I was left to wonder what kind of black man is this that doesn’t fight back and is this the type of man I really want to emulate.

The public image that is hammered into us is that Martin Luther King was a just a dreamer and was all about peace and justice. But, the more I read, the more I leaned that he had an other side too.

A couple years ago, Brian Warren and Cory Long asked me to give my opinion of MLK at the Boys and Girls Club. I gave a speech that represented the angry side of King, and the speech wasn’t too well received. But, that was to be expected because for most of the listeners, they were like me several years prior when I didn’t have a clue about the thug-thinking side of MLK.

I was so intrigued to run across ‘How MLK became an angry black man’ article from the Rolling Out Magazine Twitter feed. It provides further proof to my theory that King was not as one dimensional as we are led to believe. Someone, a whole lot smarter than me, has written this significant article with a lot of references to uncover the angry side of Martin Luther King. 

I truly feel that there are so many more lessons to be learned from MLK that folks would rather we not look into by keeping us focused on the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech and Day of Service cleanups on his national holiday. 

As I told the folks at the Boys and Girls Club, if King had lived a long life, it’s very likely that he would never be recognized as a hero as he was taking on unpopular issues once his civil rights influence was waning. 

One of my favorite lines in the article is...
Cone says King’s anger was more threatening to America than Malcolm X’s.“White people didn’t like Malcolm, but they could tolerate him because Malcolm wasn’t organizing black people in a way that would challenge the function of the government,” Cone says. “King did.”

Click HERE to read ‘How MLK became an angry black man’

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