Pique the Geek 20110116: Gold
Late Night Karaoke
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered this speech in support of the striking sanitation workers at Mason Temple in Memphis, TN on April 3, 1968 – the day before he was assassinated
bold is mine
As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
That never really threatened anyone except poor, ignorant white people afraid of losing economic and social status to a “lower” class. In 2011, immigrants have replaced blacks.
Martin didn’t get shot until he started campaigning for economic justice for the poor of all races. That was just one bridge too far for the powers that be. It was one thing to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma. It was another to cross the George Washington Bridge into New York City even symbolically.
The poor always need to be kept in their place. Especially when the poor of different races and ethnicities join together. Martin learned that lesson the hardest way of all.
It was no miracle that put James Earl Ray in England a few days later with a roll of $50,000 cash in hand. Lone assassin, indeed.
My biggest question is who will step up to be the next MLK? The next Bobby Kennedy? Maybe the media will not allow that person to become the public face of America’s discontent.
Shanti on this birthday remembrance to all.
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