Martin Luther King Jr. on Treatment of White People
Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) said we should not aim to humiliate the white man but rather to win his friendship. That principle applies for all races. I am not confident counter-protests on the same day at the same time in the same vicinity of a protest as was done in Charlottesville won or will win any friendships.
Martin Luther King Jr. on Protesting
MLK also said:
“…We are here, we are here this evening because we’re tired now. And I want to say that we are not here advocating violence. We have never done that. I want it to be known throughout Montgomery and throughout this nation that we are Christian people. We believe in the Christian religion. We believe in the teachings of Jesus. The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest. That’s all.
“And certainly, certainly, this is the glory of America, with all of its faults. This is the glory of our democracy. If we were incarcerated behind the iron curtains of a Communistic nation we couldn’t do this. If we were dropped in the dungeon of a totalitarian regime we couldn’t do this. But the great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right..”
-– Above quote is an extract from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speech given at the Holt Street Baptist Church launching the Montgomery Alabama bus boycott in December 1955.
Martin Luther King’s Comment to Harry Belafonte About Fearing He Was Integrating Black Americans into America as a Burning House
Some represent Rev. King as regretting his integration initiatives. But this is a misrepresentation of what Rev. King said about fearing America was a burning house as reported by Harry Belafonte.
Rev. King did not say he regretted the integration work he had led and done. He simply was not certain it would be enough primarily given the enormity of the economic battle in particular and the moral battle in general. Though he represented Jesus Christ in whom we have hope even for America, he seems to have doubted for a moment but not forever.
The below quotes hopefully will give you a better understanding of what he was saying so you can move from that misunderstanding some unintentionally or intentionally have led you to believe and misrepresent about Rev. King’s view.
“I’ve come upon something that disturbs me deeply,” he said. “We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know that we will win. But I’ve come to believe we’re integrating into a burning house.”
Belafonte startled at the statement said to him “What should we do?” Dr. King told him that we “Become the firemen, Let us not stand by and let the house burn.”
The link for the article on Belafonte is here.
Andy Young on Subjects Such as Race and the KKK During Meet the Press Interview
Andy Young was a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) who worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. He is a preacher and has served as a US Congressman and Mayor of Atlanta, GA as well as a number of other public positions. Part of his remarks from an interview on Meet the Press on August 20, 2017 follows:
“We originally sought to redeem the soul of America from the triple evils of race, war and poverty. Most of the issues that we’re dealing with now are related to poverty. But we still want to put everything in a racial context. The problem with the – and the reason I feel uncomfortable condemning the Klan types is – they are almost the poorest of the poor. They are the forgotten Americans. And, um, they have been used and abused and neglected. Instead of giving them affordable health care, they give them black lung jobs, and they’re happy. And that just doesn’t make sense in today’s world. And they see progress in the black community and on television and everywhere and they don’t share it. Now it’s not our fault. We’ve had a struggle from slavery. But black – while they call themselves militants, but they’re not militants, they’re chicken – we never tried to take advantage of anybody else. Our job was not to put down white people. Our job was to lift everybody up together. To come–so that we would learn to live together as brothers and sisters rather than perish together as fools.”
The full interview may be found here.
My Observations on Andy Young View of the Confederate Symbols Matter
Of course MLK is no longer here so we really don’t know how he would respond to the Confederate symbol debates today. Andy Young seems to hold the view there are more important things of substance in contrast to symbolism to focus on. He has the view that focusing on the Confederate Flag in Georgia in 1992 as Georgia prepared to host the 1996 Olympics was a mistake. Fighting over the flag and matters surrounding it reportedly resulted in a 25 billion lost to the state of Georgia.
Mr. Young was once Mayor of Atlanta, GA so I think he is speaking from a Mayor’s perspective. I think he is speaking from an insider’s perspective. I wonder what his position would be as an outsider marching for change in America. Indeed, change will always require monetary cost. The question is how important is the change regardless of the monetary cost. We fight costly wars because we believe the reason for the war outweighs the monetary cost.