My views on Martin Luther King have been known to anger many of my white brothers and sisters over the years. I have found that the farther we find ourselves removed from those turbulent years of the 1960's the younger generations are more agreeable to my opinion. I have seen people become so angry that I thought they were going to have a stroke or actually attack me. The thing that I have heard the most over the years is that King was a radical troublemaker or that he was a communist. The state of Georgia is going to erect a monument to Martin Luther King on top of Stone Mountain Georgia. It will include a "Freedom" bell that will ring on a periodic basis. This will be symbolic of the line from Kings (I Have A Dream Speech) in which he says "Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia". They will also add exhibits to the Stone Mountain museum on the contribution of black soldiers in the Civil War. I think that the monument and the historical exhibit is a great idea. The state of Georgia has a opportunity to give a balanced view of history here by not only showing the contribution of the Northern black soldier but of the Southern black soldiers. I suspect that political correctness will win out and we will only see the Northern view of the black soldier. One of the biggest criticisms of Stone Mountain is that it only depicts history from the Southern perspective. Showing the black soldier experience from both sides of the coin will broaden the interpretation of the war.
You cannot truly understand the history of the Civil War and the history of our nation without an in depth study of race. If blacks had not been chained and forcibly transported to the western hemisphere and to this country, forced into slavery, brutalized, tortured, raped and denied basic human rights we would not be having this discussion. There would have been no Civil War and no civil rights movement. I have always thought it ironic that you can stand in front of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama where M.L. King began the modern civil rights movement. Looking to your left, in the distance, you can see the spot where Jefferson Davis took the oath of office to be the first and only president of the Confederacy on the steps of the Alabama state capital building. Far too many people know little if anything at all about the history of the Confederacy or the history of the civil rights movement. I can add to that the history of the United States of America. The ones who do know history tend to dwell specifically on the battles and leaders if they are into the Civil War or if they are focused on the history of civil rights they usually ignore the history of the war. We must have a balanced view of both.
M. L. King evolved into a pretty hard core socialist by the time that he was assassinated in 1968. He was organizing a (Poor Peoples March) on Washington when he went to Memphis for the sanitation strike. The following is from an article by Aviva Shen called (4 Ways Martin Luther King Was More Radical Than You Thought).
1. He pushed for a government-guaranteed right to a job.
King advocated for a jobs guarantee, which would require the government to provide jobs to anyone who could not find one and end unemployment. The bill of rights also included “the right of every citizen to a minimum income” and “the right to an adequate education.”
2. He was a critic of capitalism and materialism.
King was a strident critic of capitalism and materialistic society, and urged Americans to “move toward a democratic socialism.” Referring to the now iconic Greensboro Lunch Counter sit-ins, he asked, “What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can’t afford to buy a hamburger?”
3. He denounced the Vietnam War.
King’s harsh words on the Vietnam War alienated even his allies on civil rights, especially President Lyndon B. Johnson. Still, King continued to speak out, asserting that American involvement in Vietnam “has torn up the Geneva Accord” and “strengthened the military-industrial complex.” He also accused the U.S. of being “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” Sounds a lot like Obama here.
4. He championed Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights.
King believed that the spread of family planning was a crucial tool in the fight to end poverty and racial inequality. “I have always been deeply interested in and sympathetic with the total work of the Planned Parenthood Federation,” he said in 1960. He connected reproductive justice with racial justice, noting that the impoverished black community had “a special and urgent concern” in family planning. Because of these views, he believed access to contraception and family planning programs should be funded by the government. Apparently King was not aware of the history of Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger who was a virulent racist and was all about weeding out the black race through eugenics and abortion. King would fit right in to the modern day Democratic Party with his views on the capitalism and abortion.
King was educated for the ministry at two of the most liberal schools in the country. Crozer Theological Seminary and Boston University. He did not interpret the Bible literally. The following is from an article by Matthai Kuruvila and he refers to the opinions of a writer named Carson. King didn't believe the story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale was true, for example, or that John the Baptist actually met Jesus, according to texts detailed in the King papers book. King once referred to the Bible as "mythological" and also doubted whether Jesus was born to a virgin, Carson said. King "wanted to develop an intellectually respectable form of Christianity that did not require people to simply abandon their rational, critical abilities," Carson said. The essential truth King saw, according to Carson, was the social gospel -- "to see the Bible as a message of spiritual redemption and global social justice." "King's idea was that by acting nonviolently and by resisting peacefully, one is re-enacting Jesus' way on Earth," Lischer said. "King's followers didn't carry guns. They didn't kill people. They instead took a beating." M. L. King not only based his nonviolent philosophy on Jesus but the philosophy written down in Henry David Thoreau's thesis (Civil Disobedience) and the beliefs and non-violent philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.
Martin Luther King had a sexual addiction every bit as bad as John Kennedy and Bill Clinton. Although I am not aware that he ever raped anyone in the way that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broderick. J. Edgar Hoovers taping of King was intended to prove that he was a Communist but the tapes revealed more about his private sexual life. He was a serial adulterer and possibly bi-sexual. On the night before his famous (I Have A Dream Speech) he tried to organize an orgy. He was with a woman other than his wife the night before he was assassinated. King was a lifelong smoker but never smoked in front of his kids. He was sneaking a smoke on the balcony of the Lorraine motel when he was shot. An autopsy revealed that King had the heart of a sixty year old man.
Like so many liberal icons Martin Luther King was made into a saint as was John Kennedy. Even though all of these facts have been revealed Democrats still make Kennedy and King sound as if they were capable of walking on water. However I grew to adulthood during the 1960's and it was probably the most turbulent decade of my life. We are starting to see turbulence now but it is manufactured by the Obama administration at a time in American history that we could be making great strides in the area of race. Black people in the 1960's had very legitimate gripes. They were routinely denied jobs, housing, service, basic civil rights, and basic human dignity. Their children went to inferior schools. When they were sick they received inferior medical care, if at all. They went to jail for minor offenses and a black person could be killed or severely injured for the most minor offenses toward whites. Especially white women, such as the case of Emmett Till.
Okay here is where I get in trouble with many whites. I think Martin Luther King was a great man. I don't agree with his leftist agenda. Neither do I condone his personal life. Although I would be mortified if anyone knew much about my personal life. King however helped to keep the militants at bay. He was a sincere believer in non-violence at a time that the more radical elements in the black community were wanting to burn the country down. King was being pressured from both sides. The Kennedy and Johnson administrations were trying to manage King and keep him contained. Both administrations wanted changes in regard to civil rights but they wanted the changes to come about gradually and on their schedule. They were trying to do the right thing, while at the same time placating the Southern wing of the Democratic Party. King had no patience for this policy. He acted on his own schedule irregardless of the wishes of Kennedy and Johnson. This in turn caused them much frustration, especially Robert Kennedy. King was putting his all into non-violence. Preaching it while more and more blacks were choosing the path of violence. We could use Martin Luther Kings kind of thinking in the White House and the (Black Lives Matters) movement today. Some of his early followers like H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael would start the more militant Black Power movement. King never condemned them, or the movement, but he continued to preach non-violence in spite of them and would eventually give his life for the cause.
When evaluating historical figures we need to analyze the whole package. Very few historical figures achieve the status of sainthood or anything near it. I have found that some are worse than others. I would put Kennedy, Clinton, King and Warren Harding into that category. Some achieve a high degree of morality in their personal life. I would include people like George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, George H. Thomas, Harry Truman, and Alvin C. York into that category. At least after his conversion to Christianity in York's case. As a student of history I try to be objective in measuring the good and bad so as to arrive at an objective conclusion. I can do this with flawed human beings and controversial people like Andrew Jackson and Nathan Bedford Forrest for example. M.L. King was right for the times and provided much of the pressure from the bottom up. We should never forget that King was only a part of a much larger movement. The fight for civil rights started almost from the moment we became a nation. There were people like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, William Lloyd Garrison, Thaddeus Stevens and Ida B. Wells just to name a few. Then there was an army of people in the modern civil rights movement like John Lewis, Diane Nash, Jim Zwerg, Bernard Lafayette, James Bevel, Bob Moses, Medgar Evers and a multitude of names that I could list. King had the highest profile of the civil rights leaders.
I once joined a racial harmony group in Williamson County. Going in I knew that I would probably be the only conservative in the group and the only one who honored Confederate heritage. The group was made up of about fifty-fifty black vs. white ratio. Every week we met and discussed ways that we could improve racial relations in the local community. The subject would come up from time to time about celebrating diversity or multiculturalism. Political correctness dies a hard death with me. One of my goals was to challenge them to think. Sometimes that is not possible with a liberal. I would say something like this. You want me to honor the diversity and culture of people of various skin tones and ethnicity's. I honor the Southern culture of my roots, the Confederate flag, along with the heritage, courage and sacrifice of the Confederate soldier. Are you willing to celebrate my culture and heritage if I celebrate yours? This was in the late 1990's. The debate has been raging for a long time over the Confederate flag and other symbols. I would say that I am willing to honor heroes like Martin Luther King, because in my mind he helped to keep the lid on violence. King said that the day that black people received their freedom the white people would receive theirs. This has proved true in the South. I think everyone has benefited from the changes made in this country, especially in the South since 1965. The South today is one of the most racially and economically progressive areas of the country. Before 1965 the South was in many ways close to being a third world country. Historians are constantly reminding us of the plight of black people in the South. However the plight of the poor white has been virtually ignored. That is because the Southern state leadership maintained a caste system that kept whites and blacks in a perpetual state of poverty and ignorance. They did this by constantly playing on white ignorance and racial fears. Famous race baiters like (Pitchfork) Ben Tillman, (Cotton) Ed Smith and Theodore Bilbo just to name a very few. I would then tell the members of the racial harmony group this. You are welcome to place a statue or memorial on the town square or anywhere you want to honor those people of color or gender that are acceptable heroes. Just leave my flags, statues and symbols alone. Learn to appreciate my heroes in the process like I have taken the time to learn about and appreciate your heroes and symbols. I believe that a Freedom bell memorial to Martin Luther King is appropriate. It's time to let freedom ring from Stone Mountain Georgia.
The following is an exchange by myself and a Facebook friend named Kevin Barrett after he read this article. I felt that our comments to each other helps to clarify my position even further.
Kevin Barrett- Hmmmm. Well, you've definitely gotten me to thinking again. I must confess that I wasn't much of a King fan before your article. My feelings had nothing to do with the color of his skin, but rather the content of his character. It was the continued adultery, the liberal policies, and the socialistic teachings that always disturbed me so much. I know that many immediately brand me a racist when I make such a statement. No doubt, as your assessment indicates King has been elevated to saint and martyr status. Why if you want to destroy a man's political future just tell Americans that as a young legislator, he voted against the federal MLK holiday. But you are correct regarding his belief in non-violence and certainly Washington wanted to keep him at bay. I think perhaps they were treating him like a friendly dictator that needed to be propped up because the alternative would be so much worse! Certainly we've done our share of that during the last few years. He was a product of his time and his time gave us the likes of an ax handle swinging Governor of Georgia named Lester Maddox. King's family always seems in disarray to me. They don't seem to agree on much. Of course, you already know that I agree with you about our heritage, etc. You always have a way of challenging me to think. Looks like I've got to engage in more research buddy! Thanks again, Greg!!!
Greg Segroves- I agree with much of your analysis. King is someone that can easily be dismissed because of the content of his character and not by the color of his skin. Matter of fact I intended to use that line in the article but I couldn't think of a good way to work it in because of Kings lack of character. He said that in a speech the very next day after he tried to organize an orgy. What I am challenging people to do is to look at a person in total and see if there is enough left over that we can honor. For example Thomas Jefferson wrote the most eloquent and truthful words ever spoken in the Declaration of Independence. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Jefferson wrote this at the very moment that he owned hundreds of slaves. The conscientious historian's task is complicated.by this ambiguity. How do they give an objective analysis of a man like Jefferson. We have a memorial in Washington dedicated to Jefferson and his words are written in stone. If black people somehow had taken over the reins of government in 1900 do you think that there would be a Jefferson Memorial in Washington today? We have to avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water. Being a man of the cloth you are aware that all sin separates us from God. In God's eyes he sees no difference between the sin of fornication and the sin of keeping humans in bondage. We humans tend to rank sin but sin is sin to God. Jefferson's words are immortal and no one in their right mind can challenge them. Those words were a post dated check written to the American people. Unfortunately it took about 200 years to cash. Historians consider Jefferson to be one of our greatest presidents. I don't but his words and political philosophy are priceless. I look at King in much the same way. Who can challenge the idea that we should judge a man by the content of his character and not by the color of his skin? Those words are priceless and no less true than all men are created equal. We honor Jefferson more for his words than his actions. Besides, whenever the race merchants like Obama, Jackson and Sharpton try to single out a particular race for special treatment I can remind people of those great words spoken on that hot August day in 1963.