Dr. King Day

Video of the Week: MLK, JR himself via Democracy Now!:

Dr. King’s “City Temple Address”, London, 1964

Song of the Week:

“Why (The King of Love is Dead)” Nina Simone

The King of Love is Dead
Nina Simone

Once upon this planet earth,
Lived a man of humble birth,
Preaching love and freedom for his fellow man,

He was dreaming of a day,
Peace would come to earth to stay,
And he spread this message all across the land.

Turn the other cheek he’d plead,
Love thy neighbor was his creed,
Pain humiliation death, he did not dread

With his Bible at his side,
From his foes he did not hide,
It’s hard to think that this great man is dead. (Oh yes)

Will the murders never cease,
Are thy men or are they beasts?
What do they ever hope, ever hope to gain?

Will my country fall, stand or fall?
Is it too late for us all?
And did Martin Luther King just die in vain?

‘Cause he’d seen the mountain top,
And he knew he could not stop,
Always living with the threat of death ahead.

Folks you’d better stop and think
‘Cause we’re heading for the brink.
What will happen now that he is dead?

He was for equality,
For all people you and me,
Full of love and good will, hate was not his way.

He was not a violent man.
Tell me folks if you can,
Just why, why was he shot down the other day?

Well see he’d seen, the mountain top.
And he knew he could not stop,
Always living with the threat of death ahead.

Folks you’d better stop and think and feel again,
For we’re heading for the brink.
What’s gonna happen now that the king of love is dead?

When W.E.B. Du Bois was Un-American” Andrew Lanham, Boston Review

When World War I broke out in 1914, Du Bois believed it was driven not by European internal strife but by colonialism, specifically conflict over territory in Africa. In a 1915 essay in the Atlantic called “The African Roots of War,” he connected war and colonialism with industrial capitalism. Du Bois argued that working-class whites in Europe and America were tricked out of feeling solidarity with similarly exploited people of color around the world because they were lured by the promise that, under a system of racial capitalism (to borrow a later term from Cedric Robinson), their whiteness would guarantee them a higher rung in society.

DOJ: Chicago PD Uses Excessive Force in Communities of Color” Kenrya Rankin, Colorlines

The department’s pattern or practice includes:

–     Shooting at fleeing suspects who presented no immediate threat

–    Shooting at vehicles without justification

–   Using less-lethal force, including Tasers, against people who pose no threat

–  Using force to retaliate against and punish individuals

– Using excessive force against juveniles

– Failing to effectively de-escalate situations or to use crisis intervention techniques to reduce the need for force

– Employing tactics that unnecessarily endanger officers and result in avoidable shootings and other uses of force

-Failing to accurately document and meaningfully review officers’ use of force

United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of Illinois: Investigation of the Chicago Police Department

What the ‘Santa Clausification’ of Martin Luther King, Jr. Leaves Out” Zaid Jilani, The Intercept

But what they don’t mention is that King was not just a fighter for racial justice, he also fought for economic justice and against war. And as a result, he spent the last years of his life, before being assassinated in 1968, clashing not just with reactionary Southern segregationists, but with the Democratic Party’s elite and other civil rights leaders, who viewed his turn against the Vietnam War and the American economic system as dangerous and radical.

Robert F Kennedy gave a speech in Indianapolis following the death of Martin Luther King Jr in which he quoted Aeschylus. I looked up a more accurate translation of the poem here:

Zeus, who guided mortals to be wise,
has established his fixed law—
wisdom comes through suffering.
Trouble, with its memories of pain,
drips in our hearts as we try to sleep,
so people against their will
learn to practice moderation.
Favors come to us from gods
seated on their solemn thrones—
such grace is harsh and violent.


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