My thoughts on Martin Luther King, Jr.:

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What can I say to ever give justice to this man? Nothing. Himself, along with countless individuals, of all creeds, ethnicities, nationalities, genders & political-orientations, led the world towards a global fight to end tyranny & injustice. Many of his efforts have been duly highlighted in the annals of American & World-History, which is why we as a society have given him the recognition of remembering him on a day, called “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day”.Martin Luther King, Jr. clearly sacrificed life & limb, and many, if not most Americans & citizens of the World, have benefited immensely from the brutality that he himself, along with so many countless other international & national heroes of the United States, to attempt to make the lives of other people better.However, there are certain things which he fought for, in my eyes, that were a lot more noble, than his other celebrated outcries for ethnic equality. They were his outcries for governmental transparency in this nation, as well as others, it was his fight for worker’s rights, towards the last two to three years of his life, it was challenging the status-quo of the military war-machine of the U.S., it was questioning the validity of the United States supporting leaders in foreign countries, whom were guilty of the same atrocities which Nazi-Germany, Fascist-Italy & Imperial-Japan have been historically black-listed for, all in the name of spreading Democracy, and defeating Communism, at all cost.

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.

Gareth Bryant/2012

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3 responses »

  1. Thank you for your thoughts on MLK. I have some thoughts.

    I was also raised on MLK and in 3rd grade, I was introduced to his legacy (1983). I have also identified with Malcolm X as a poet, a radical thinker, someone who has felt quite impatient for justice. I am also a poet.

    Though it was not mentioned in your blog, I believe MLK’s vision also included human rights, civil rights, social and political acceptance and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoIlHTIq8BQ

    Remember, Bayard Rustin, a gay man, organized the march on Washington. In this clip, I like the phrase ‘raw courage’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO5EaN2phd4

    I like that you say “They were his outcries for governmental transparency in this nation, as well as others, it was his fight for worker’s rights, towards the last two to three years of his life, it was challenging the status-quo of the military war-machine of the U.S……” It’s true. I don’t think MLK would be too impressed with American foreign and domestic policy/action. Check this.
    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/1/13/on_eve_of_mlk_day_michelle

    My favorite King speech, http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm – A Time to Break Silence- is quite powerful. You can hear it here. He delivered this speech on year before he was assassinated.

    A great reading series in DC where my friend lives might be of interest to you: https://www.facebook.com/cmnights

    Shalom. Happy MLK Day.
    Keep writing!!!

    Song for America today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqdm1_gA1Ds

  2. Thank you for your thoughts on MLK. I have some thoughts.

    I was also raised on MLK and in 3rd grade, I was introduced to his legacy (1983). I have also identified with Malcolm X as a poet, a radical thinker, someone who has felt quite impatient for justice. I am also a poet.

    Though it was not mentioned in your blog, I believe MLK’s vision also included human rights, civil rights, social and political acceptance and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoIlHTIq8BQ

    Remember, Bayard Rustin, a gay man, organized the march on Washington. In this clip, I like the phrase ‘raw courage’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO5EaN2phd4

    I like that you say “They were his outcries for governmental transparency in this nation, as well as others, it was his fight for worker’s rights, towards the last two to three years of his life, it was challenging the status-quo of the military war-machine of the U.S……” It’s true. I don’t think MLK would be too impressed with American foreign and domestic policy/action. Check this.
    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/1/13/on_eve_of_mlk_day_michelle

    My favorite King speech, http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm – A Time to Break Silence- is quite powerful. You can hear it here. He delivered this speech one year before he was assassinated.

    A great reading series in DC where my friend lives might be of interest to you: https://www.facebook.com/cmnights

    Shalom. Happy MLK Day.
    Keep writing!!!

    Song for America today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqdm1_gA1Ds

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