The Hidden Dr. King
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr has been shrink-wrapped and formatted to be innocuous and non-threatening. Dream speeches, desegregation, voting rights, and Selma marches could be accommodated. But when he articulated a critique of the system as a whole then he became a danger to the establishment. That Dr. King has been largely obscured. At Riverside Church in New York he said the Vietnam War was “a symptom of a far deeper malady.” And then he added, “We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” By giving that speech Dr. King basically signed his own death warrant.
Tavis Smiley was a PBS and public radio talk show host. He is the author of many books including Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Final Year.
W. Johnson –
Mr. Smiley approached the subject, “The Hidden Dr. King”, with an equal measure of reverence and honesty. This talk was delivered at the most appropriate place and time—in a hospitable community (Seattle WA) and at the peak of America’s current war (on terrorism.) Smiley’s journalistic-approach to the subject and his ability to “tell us the truth” made for an enlightening and thought-provoking presentation, and Q & A session. He reminds us of the important work Dr. King accomplished during his short life, and how awfully rough the grind of the SCLC’s mission of non-violent protest became. He magnified the logic and rationale of both King’s personal and professional struggles, while he simultaneously oversaw the planning of the Poor Peoples March to Washington DC. Smiley’s talk challenges us–if Reverend King were alive today, would his positions on racism, poverty, and militarism be different?; and would his support for and critique of President Obama be any different from that he provided of President Johnson in 1967? These are just some of the thoughts posed by this presentation. Smiley confessed how he has become persona non grata in many communities throughout the United States of America—especially in many Black Communities. What a price to pay for such an exceptional journalist and powerful “truth teller.” Listening to his message, on this AR recording, would be well worth your time—I mean that!