Search online for famous Martin Luther King Jr. quotes and notice the inspirational, uplifting words that pop up.
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk.” Or “The time is always right to do what is right.”
Or this one, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (The last four words of the march’s title are often left out.)
“I have a dream that one day, this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
That’s the quote that the NBA chose to put on the backs of shirts NBA players will wear on MLK Day, which in 2018 falls on King’s actual birthday, Jan. 15.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 15, 2018
But King was a radical prophet. It is only our collective amnesia that allows so many to embrace him in death. He was critical of capitalism and white moderates who thought the civil rights movement was moving too fast.
And in that spirit, I’ve redesigned the NBA’s MLK Day jerseys to more fully capture who King was and the economic justice he dreamed of.
Today, those who claim to revere King would be wise to heed the advice of two faith leaders who have resurrected King’s last campaign.
“Don’t let the powers that be domesticate Dr. King,” wrote Reverends Liz Theoharis and Dr. William Barber II, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
“In his final days he called for people of all colors to lead a revolution that would radically redistribute political and economic power in the country.
“He wouldn’t want a day. He’d want a campaign, a movement. Let’s honor Dr. King by giving him just that.”
Tomorrow, when you tweet/comment about honoring #MLK, remember that he was resolute about eradicating racism (privilege + power = unjust, discriminatory policies & systems), poverty & war.
Then, work to enact policies that reflect your #MLKDay sentiments.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) January 14, 2018
Make #MLKDay about reminding America “be true to what you said on paper” and building the Beloved Community by eradicating racism, war and poverty; not just about a day of service. Let’s dedicate our lives to justice and peace. #MLK #MLK50Forward pic.twitter.com/UP4TZnaOQ3
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) January 13, 2018
Where do we go from here?
Check out these King speeches you may not be as familiar with.