Dr. King and the American Dream
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr has been branded and packaged. The sharp edge has been largely replaced with a dull and unthreatening one. King moved way beyond his poetic “I Have a Dream” speech to a radical societal analysis. His ideas in his last few years have been glossed over and sanitized. This is what he said in his 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech: “A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.” He warned America, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Which Dr. King will Barack Obama embrace? The safe one or the revolutionary one?
Michael Eric Dyson, a globally renowned scholar of race, religion and contemporary culture, is the Centennial Chair and University Distinguished Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. A dynamic speaker, he lectures widely. Among his many books are April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King’s Death and How it Changed America, Tears We Cannot Stop, Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur, and Jay-Z: Made in America.