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Martin Luther King

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For the benefit of the MLK detractors on this thread (with whose criticism I sympathize), I would like to point out some additional historical facts:

- Read up on the Jim Crow Laws that were still in effect in the south as late as the 1960's. Schools, buses, and many other public/private services were segregated by law. In WW2, blacks were not allowed to be in the same military units as whites. (Could a black Patton have saved thousands of American lives? We'll never know.) Blacks were routinely beaten, arrested, jailed, or killed for no reason whatsoever -- oftentimes with no pursuit of justice in the aftermath.

- RE: the above, blacks had every reason to be brutally pissed off. King touted only peaceful resistance via protest and political advocacy in a time when many blacks were actively involved in racial violence.

- King's "I Have a Dream" speech and other speeches were exquisitely written, passionately delivered, and viewed by millions and millions of people. King's arguments left no doubt -- even in the minds of the most vicious racists -- that blacks are every bit as much human as whites, and ought to be afforded the same rights under the Constitution. Note in my post above his explicit (and accurate) references to America's Declaration and Constitution.

- Contrast King's "color blind" message to the "black power" message of his contemporaries. He argued that blacks should be treated equal to whites, not that they should receive preferential treatment. Note that his arguments are often presented in opposition to Affirmative Action.

- Finally, consider how effective was Mr. King in achieving his primary objective: the repeal the Jim Crow laws. This man changed the country, perhaps the entire world, for the better, and he did it without taking the "time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to tak[ing] the tranquilizing drug of gradualism."

- (As an ancillary study note, look into WEB DuBois and other educated blacks, and consider their impact on the slavery issue in the 1800's. King took very much the same approach, to a powerfully similar effect.)

--Dan Edge

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