Monday, January 16, 2006


Originally uploaded by ALifeAllah.
When we dropped off the young prince this morning (seeing that both of us had to work today) the radio mentioned something about Martin Luther King. I-Victory that harped up, “I know him…he got shot.” Now, I went to an elementary school named Martin Luther King. I can’t recall even approaching the fact that he was shot until I was like in the 3rd or 4th grade. Now, I don’t know how it was approached in the classroom. I do know that all he retained was the fact that he got shot. What is also interesting is that the first Caucasian guy that my son was taught about in school ‘knows when you are sleeping and knows when you are wake” i.e. Santa Claus. The first Black man that he is taught about ‘got shot.” Ironic.

So, when the young Star came home I had to do an education intervention.

People freeze MLK in time in 1963 with his ‘I have a dream” speech, as though that is the only speech he made. It is no accident that during his holiday that this is the speech that you will have vs. any of his other speeches. Yes, he was an advocate of non violence which I don’t agree with 100% (Peacemaker). In fact, the Christian notion that Jesus was a ‘pacifist’ is a misguided notion by Christians. In fact he told his disciples to sell their garments and buy a sword. There are other aspects of his life that aren’t usually presented by the media.

For instance, they always pump the 1963 ‘I have a dream’ speech yet he was assassinated in 1968. Some of his illest speeches were between those years. One of the ones that I always read is his ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail.’ This is one of my favorite quotes from that speech:

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

During 1968 he was reaching out to those outside of his Black Christian community. He had been seen with the honorable Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. He said that he was going to disrupt the day to day life of everyone in America. He also said that he was going to make it impossible for anyone who supported the Vietnam War to get into office. One of the speeches from that year was ‘I See the Promised Land.’ One of my favorite quotes from that speech was:

It's alright to talk about "long white robes over yonder," in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here. It's alright to talk about "streets flowing with milk and honey," but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can't eat three square meals a day. It's alright to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God's preacher must talk about the New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do.

Those parts of MLK’s life are applicable to what we teach. That is the best part. That is what Allah, the Father brought for his sons. He taught them how to examine their terrain, survey the government, and activate their potential. In analyzing both lives my son learns what the duty of righteous is.



Brother OMi said...

i have the same beef with the celebration of his life.

Hirmski said...


I've been reading your posts for a while now (everyday actually)and finally decided to create a name so that I would be able to comment.

I'm glad you spoke about this because I was dealing with the same issue in regards to my wisdom's daughter who is in 1st grade. She told me M.L.K. "black people get jobs, and be able to go to the store.....and he got shot."

I was fortunate to hear Kathlene Cleaver speak last year about the "real reason M.L.K. was assassinated". Reasons being that although his "I Have A Dream" speech was the one thing he's remembered for, it was organizing around the anti-war movement that pissed "The Man" off. He was still non-violence, but he was definitely begninning to see that freedom was going to have to be taken. With the anti-war movement mobilizing so many people, he was able to reach groups of people from all classes and races (not too mention being cool with Brother Malcolm). Fearing the potential this had (being able to organize white people and show them how a fight against state sanctioned oppression benifited everyone)they assasinated him. Remember Brother Malcolm had changed up his style a bit and was able to reach groups that they thought he never could and thus he was assasinated also.

Just my two cents. Keep teaching.

P.S. CT graff legends are having graffiti showcase at the end of the month!