The forgotten legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.


The importance of Martin Luther King Jr. and his message have been lost over the past few years. 

Case and point, a CNN piece that asked advocates and athletes to share their favorite MLK quote. 

CNN asked activists and athletes fighting for equality in the Black, Latino, Asian American, Native American and Muslim American communities to reflect on King's words and his legacy at a time when America is deeply divided after last year's racial reckoning and the insurrection at the US Capitol earlier this month.

Each of them selected a quote from the civil rights movement leader and shared why it resonates with them

Most of them chose quotes from anything but King’s I Have a Dream speech. Not a single one talked about bringing the country together, and living in a world where color is no longer the primary factor.

Patrisse Cullors, the founder of Black Lives Matter, found a quote that focused on the opposite. 

"First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice." -Martin Luther King Jr.

Cullors said she chose that quote because "On January 6, the world witnessed a failed attempted coup by White supremacists extremists. These are the same people who have taunted, humiliated and threatened Black Lives Matter members and our leadership. And while these White supremacists are scary and dangerous, our m

This is cherry-picking and revisionist history. 

Martin Luther King praised the white people who joined the crusade for civil rights. He said that white marched with them, went to jail with them, even bled with them. 

The 2021-hyper focus on race ignores that. Are there still hurdles to overcome? Yes. Does focusing exclusively on race erase those hurdles? No. 

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke the eloquent words that will live through history because his goal was not division, or retribution, or to put blacks in power so they could lord-over whites. Martin Luther King Jr. earned his day of federal remembrance because he reminded us that we are one nation, one people, no matter what we look like or where we are from. 

The modern race-baiters and race-haters should listen to the message from I Have and Dream, and see what King wanted and how far they have fallen from his dream. 

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