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.

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.

“Few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race.” From “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963.
“ And one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’ And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth.” From King’s last speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, delivered in 1967.
‘’If a city has a 30% Negro population, then it is logical to assume that Negroes should have at least 30% of the jobs in any particular company, and jobs in all categories rather than only in menial areas.” From “Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community,” published in 1967.
“Capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slavesand continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor — both black and white, both here and abroad.” From “The Three Evils of Society,” delivered in 1967 at the National Conference for New Politics.
“With each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash.” From “Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community,” published in 1967.
“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age.” From “Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community,” published in 1967.
“Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.” From King’s 1962 speech delivered at the Park Sheraton hotel in New York.
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” From “Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community,” published in 1967.
“We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis.” From King’s last speech, delivered at Mason Temple April 3, 1968.
“And so this social revolution taking place can be summarized in three little words… They are the words “all,” “here,” and “now.” From King’s 1963 speech at the Great March on Detroit.

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.”


Where do we go from here?

Check out these King speeches you may not be as familiar with.