White America and the white media, for their comfort, have “frozen Dr. King in history” at his “I Have a Dream” speech and call for integration in 1963. What they don’t want you to know is that by 1968, King’s “dream” had evolved into a “radical vision,” and his call for integration evolved to a call for America to “equitably redistribute wealth” and move toward “democratic Socialism.” King questioned if he was calling for our people to integrate into a “burning house” (America). Let us hear Dr. King, in his own words:
On Black Power (1966)—“Now there is a kind of concrete, real Black power that I believe in … certainly if Black power means the amassing of political and economic power in order to gain our just and legitimate goals, then we all believe in that.”
On Revolution (1967)—“For years, I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of the South, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a radical reconstruction of the entire society, a revolution of values.”
On Black Politicians (1967)—“The majority of [Black] political leaders do not ascend to prominence on the shoulders of mass support … most are still selected by white leadership, elevated to position, supplied with resources and inevitably subjected to white control. The mass of [Blacks] nurtures a healthy suspicion toward this manufactured leader.”
In his last days on Earth, King was organizing a Poor Peoples Campaign to focus on poverty, unemployment and homelessness. He was headed to Washington to “occupy Washington” and engage in “militant civil disobedience” until Congress passed a $60 billion anti-poverty bill. He wasn’t going to Washington to make more speeches and come home with nothing. Today’s civil rights leaders should follow their iconic, radical, courageous, visionary leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Right on, Dr. King! Happy birthday!