In truth, for me, it wasn’t until this point in his life, shortly before his assassination, that I was able to truly appreciate the struggle that he was placed at the helm of. For most African-American youth, like myself, when I was young, was always given this depiction of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as being very passive, soft, and for all intensive purposes, on some uncle-tom stuff. Honestly, in comparison to someone like Malcolm Little (AKA Malcolm X[May Allah mercify him]), you see their goals for the betterment of African-Americans, as well as other people, generally polarized, meaning very different.
Let’s be honest here, when you hear Malcolm Little saying “ballet or the bullet” & then hear Martin Luther King, Jr. saying “I have a dream”, as a Black man, living in this current society, looking back on yesteryear, it’s easy to see why most of us in my generation would be quick to identify with Malcolm Little, as opposed to Martin Luther King, Jr. Most of us have been indoctrinated into thinking that violence is the only way to solve our problems, and there’s this man, a Black man at that, encouraging other Black people, who are being, raped, maimed, hung, hosed down, shot up, beat the hell up, bitten by dogs, trampled by horses, fire-bombed you name it, they’ve been through it.
Now, living in the hood, in NYC, during the 80’s & 90′s, as I have, growing up, listening to & learning from Malcolm Little & Martin Luther King, Jr. & come to the personal conclusion that what MLK was kickin’ is for the birds & Malcolm knew what he was talkin’ about. But, in hind-sight, I’ve learned to respect not only his work-ethic, in terms of how hard he worked for his goals, but also, his evolution, in terms of his personal awareness & how to address the wrongs which were right in front of his face, during his own lifetime, but either couldn’t see or chose to ignore before.
In short, although, as a Muslim, I don’t approve of the celebration of dead people (via celebrating their birthdays and/or holidays established on the days of their birth, or on any other day/days, in honor of them). I do, however, encourage people to respect this man, for all of the above reasons which I’ve said earlier in this article, and if you truly claim to respect and/or love this man, then you would truly attempt to live as he did, in the constant & consistent service of others, whom would reap the benefits of his hard work, decades after his tragic & violent demise.