MLK Jr. Day (one day late)

January 21st, 2003 – 9:24 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

“It’s become a TV ritual: Every year in mid-January, around the time of Martin Luther King’s birthday, we get perfunctory network news reports about ‘the slain civil rights leader.’

The remarkable thing about this annual review of King’s life is that several years — his last years — are totally missing, as if flushed down a memory hole.

What TV viewers see is a closed loop of familiar file footage: King battling desegregation in Birmingham (1963); reciting his dream of racial harmony at the rally in Washington (1963); marching for voting rights in Selma, Alabama (1965); and finally, lying dead on the motel balcony in Memphis (1968).

An alert viewer might notice that the chronology jumps from 1965 to 1968. Yet King didn’t take a sabbatical near the end of his life. In fact, he was speaking and organizing as diligently as ever.

Almost all of those speeches were filmed or taped. But they’re not shown today on TV.


It’s because national news media have never come to terms with what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for during his final years.”

Martin Luther King Jr. was more than just a “civil rights leader.” He was a man who also spoke out against the gulf between rich and poor in the United States. He spoke out against U.S. foreign policy as well, namely the war in Vietnam. This article from the FAIR archives is a good starting point for remembering the Dr. King that many of those in power would just as soon forget.

Read it here, and learn more about King’s speeches from the last years of his life here.

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