I’m a conscious brother. And I’m as conscious as the next man or woman. But I don’t subscribe to the notion of Dr. King as a softie compared to the Malcolm X’s and Black Panthers. I’ve heard some conscious people say he was a pawn, agent, or just an ineffective leader.

Many of my fellow conscious people use what Harry Belafonte quoted Dr. King as saying for their reasoning. MLK expressed regret to him about leading his people into a “burning building” towards the end of his life. Burning building was the metaphor he used for leading his people to integrate into a hostile and reluctant White America.

Not everyone goes so far as to call Dr. King a pawn or agent for the elites. Some just diminish the relatively basic achievement of integration to a more elemental level. They say we were better off during segregation because we were forced to have our own businesses and spend our money with black businesses. Once integration was achieved, we shut down our severely underfunded businesses so we could work for and spend our money with them.

Guess what. We can still own businesses and we can still patron black businesses first. It’s just nice to know we have the option to patron a White business or other non-Black business if there are no black businesses in the immediate area you reside or travel to. I thought that was the purpose of integration and Dr. King’s achieved goal. And why did black business owners shut down their businesses once integration was achieved anyway? They could’ve kept them. Sports documentaries about athletes back in the Jim Crow era often document traveling White basketball, football, and baseball players who would go to luxurious hotels while their Black teammates had to sleep at some run down, dusty dorm room because they weren’t allowed in the White owned hotels. I take that to mean that there were no luxurious Black owned hotels in the near area for them to patron. Am I to believe that Dr. King, the eloquent mobilizer and orator behind the Civil Rights Movement, should have fell back from his goals at integration? Then we would have a world where Black traveling NBA stars, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade slept in a barnyard style shack of a room after being turned down by 5-star hotels for having a sun-friendly pigment. Meanwhile, their previous White teammates in Kevin Love and Kyle Korver sleeps at the finest hotels.

These athletes symbolically represent the rest of the Black working joe masses as well, going on road trips and having no first option Black business to use and needing a secondary White or other non-Black business. Black businesses are indeed the height of success, but integration for the sake of disallowing a business owner to refuse service and employment is a basic step for success. So let’s stop waxing cynical poetics about Dr. King as an agent or over trivializing his achieved goals.

The Civil Rights Movement also helped eradicate more blatant and frequent forms of racism and violence by the injustice system and civilian citizens. George Stinney is the 14-year old black teen falsely accused of raping a White girl. Stinny’s 1944 execution by way of electrocution was prompt and without a fair trial. Emmit Till is the 14-year old boy who was tortured and killed in 1955 by a few White civilians for allegedly whistling at a White women. The White woman eventually admitted it was a lie before she died. I guess she was trying to “get right” with her version of Cesare Borgia…ahem, I meant, a sky-daddy Jesus that she prays to.

The White civilians who murdered Emmett Till, were promptly exonerated by the injustice system. These were symbolic of what was commonplace during this era. Blacks being lynched and burned at the stake, and Black babies being used as alligator bait by White civilian citizens and acquitted by the injustice system for other obvious murders were the norm.

All the marching and demonstrating that held up traffic, made cops have to lock up multiple protesters, which made the government realize they have to throw blacks a bone at least and make racism more subtle while giving them small gains. And Dr. King was the driving force behind the end of Jim Crow. Even with the current era of Trayvon Martins, Philando Castiles, and the etcetera’s of Black men killed by law enforcement, it’s still nowhere nearly as blatant and frequent as it once was. Now black murders are more sporadic. As the cheesy mainstream Black pundits say when they talk about Jim Crow to the present, “We came a long way. But we still have a long way to go.” They’re somewhat right. Back then any white could assault a Black person without any justice. Now only the police are allowed to. Even at my most cynical moment at today’s climate, I can’t say Dr. King didn’t put a significant dent in the prior level of racism that existed. So for that, I say, salute and rise in power to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

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