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It happens every year on Martin Luther King Jr. day, and it’s happening right now.

Well-meaning people share his more palatable, more agreeable statements while avoiding the simple fact that MLK held very radical views throughout his life, and those views are just as applicable today.

Here are a few of our favorites…

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

A Time to Break the Silence: April 4, 1967

“The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and racism. The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power”.

—King to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) board on March 30, 1967.

“…the price that America must pay for the continued oppression of the Negro and other minority groups is the price of its own destruction.”

—The American Dream: July 4, 1965

“White Americans must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society.”

—Where Do We Go from Here? 1967

“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn. The reality of substantial investment to assist Negroes into the twentieth century, adjusting to Negro neighbors and genuine school integration, is still a nightmare for all too many white Americans…These are the deepest causes for contemporary abrasions between the races. Loose and easy language about equality, resonant resolutions about brotherhood fall pleasantly on the ear, but for the Negro there is a credibility gap he cannot overlook. He remembers that with each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash.”

— Where Do We Go From Here: 1967

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

—Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963

“Again we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifices. Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad.”

—The Three Evils speech, 1967

Posted in 2021 by City Heights Community Development Corporation, San Diego, CA

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