“We only have books about African Americans in February”: Be an eloquent radical

Yesterday (MLK day 2015) I was on the hunt for children’s book about Martin Luther King. First I went to Target, mostly socially progressive, looking for reading materials. The person in the media section told me “We only have books about African Americans in February.” So I thought I would save myself some time and call ahead to other local places that might have books about MLK. I called Hallmark, no dice. I called CVS and Walgreens… no dice. Why was it so hard to find a book about MLK on MLK day? Do I live in Arizona— who never liked the idea of MLK day and that abhors culturally relevant discourse? No, I live in Sacramento California. In the end, Barnes and Noble had a prominent end cap with a variety of choices. Thank you Barnes and Noble!!

“Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” Matthew 21:16

2015-01-19 16.12.57

Today I want to introduce Lucia to you. Lucia is six, and this is her first contribution to a blog. I asked the jr. blogger a series of questions to describe MLK and what he means to her.

First, she wrote down the words from the books she read to describe MLK’s life. They were:

  • Unforgettable
  • Equality
  • Montgomery
  • Protestors
  • Eisenhower
  • Segregation
  • Vietnam
  • Murder
  • Methods
  • Enslaving

You can see the words in her writing in the featured photo for the article above.

Some of my favorite Lucia quotes from our conversation about MLK’s life.

“Whites do not have to be alone Blacks can go to school too”

“He standed up and was a great man.”

“If they would have listened to him they would not have killed him”

“I will trust him if he was still alive.”

My mother has always told me…

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Has the word civil rights been co-opted in our time? Is MLK restricted by some to a single speech? The Dream speech?

If you watch this clip, one of the presenters appears to only be aware of one part of King’s message.

We should honor MLK by remembering him For the eloquent radical and extremist that he was. Here are 58 Tweetable MLK Quotes to Reclaim King’s Legacy by Drew Dellinger Use these with the Twitter hashtags #MLKalsoSaid & #ReclaimMLK I have selected a few favorites from his list….

King on police brutality:

“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” — MLK, Aug. 28, 1963

“The white man does not abide by the law… His police forces are the ultimate mockery of law.” — MLK (1968)

“The beating and killing of our… young people will not divert us. The arrest and release of known murderers will not discourage us.” — MLK

King on confronting systemic racism:

“Large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility & the status quo than about justice & humanity.” — MLK

“White America has allowed itself to be indifferent to race prejudice.” — MLK (1968)

“I am sorry to have to say that the vast majority of white Americans are racists, either consciously or unconsciously.” — MLK (1967)

“The great majority of Americans… are uneasy with injustice but unwilling yet to pay a significant price to eradicate it.” — MLK

King on the importance of direct action and civil disobedience:

“I’ve just come to a conclusion that our country doesn’t really move on these issues until a movement is mobilized.” — MLK (1968)

“I’m talking about poor people’s power. That is what is needed.” — MLK (1968)

“Every [person] of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits [his or her] convictions, but we must all protest.” — MLK

“Our power lies in our ability to say nonviolently that we aren’t gonna take it any longer.” — MLK (1967)

“I’m worried today when there are those who try to silence dissenters.” — MLK

“We aren’t going to let this attempt to crush dissent turn us around.” — MLK (1968)

“I believe in dissent. We must never lose this.” — MLK

“The greatness of our nation — and I don’t want to see us lose it — is that… it does keep alive the opportunity to protest and dissent.” — MLK

King on economic justice and ending poverty

“The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty.” — MLK

1/2: “The nation doesn’t move around questions of genuine equality for the poor and for black people…”

2/2: “… until it is confronted massively, dramatically in terms of direct action.” — MLK

“Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation.” — MLK

“I choose to identify with the poor…. This is the way I’m going. If it means suffering a little bit, I’m going that way.” — MLK (1966)

MLK was an eloquent radical. Here is MLK on Meet the Press

One man’s conscience was set above the conscience of society… will you seek that ethic today?

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