— Liza Behrendt (@lizaveta9) January 18, 2016
Increasingly, there are calls to “Reclaim King” as a radical. It is true that his assertion of Black peoples’ right to life, dignity and reparations was revolutionary.He recognized the connections between racism, war and poverty, demanding an end to the Vietnam War on both moral and economic grounds (he highlighted the mass expense of war at a time of state disinvestment from Black communities). His encouragement for a “fear and distrust of the white man’s justice” challenged a central pillar of US democracy. He visited the anti-colonial struggles taking place in the global South. And at the end of his life, he called for a redistribution of wealth and restructuring of our political economy through his Poor People’s Campaign, saying “an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring.”
He was not mainstream: He had a 23 percent approval rating among white Americans and a 45 percent rating among Black Americans. He offered a new dream, rejecting the status quo as natural, normal or inevitable and exposing the nightmarish violence and terror behind the “American Dream.” This vision shook society. And out of its trembling arms poured bombs, bullets and police dogs.
Not until he was safely buried underground was a new, less threatening King birthed and branded. This state-sanctioned, sanitized version of King has since been manipulated to discredit, delegitimize and disinform subsequent organizers who wish to continue his legacy in the current work for Black liberation.
— Elsa (@naturallyelsa) January 18, 2016
I want the human and messy King, not the sanitized and whitewashed King. I want the King that is relatable. #ReclaimMLK
— patrisse cullors (@osope) January 18, 2016
— The Root (@TheRoot) January 18, 2016