“For more than two centuries our forebearers labored here without wages. They made cotton king, and they built the homes of their masters in the midst of the most humiliating and oppressive conditions… and yet, out of a bottomless vitality, they continued to grow and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery couldn’t stop us, the opposition that we now face will surely fail!” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared during his ‘Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution’ dissertation, delivered on March 31st, 1968, at Washington D.C.’s National Cathedral, just days before he was killed.
The April 4th, 1968 assassination of the courageous Civil Rights leader stunned the nation. Four-and-a-half decades later, many wonder if circumstances for Americanized-Africans have really improved in the land of the free since he was gunned down on a balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee while reverend Jesse Jackson peculiarly stood nearby.
Some speculate what may have been had the 39 year-old physically lived a bit longer, continuing to mature as he gained more experiences and his understanding grew.
On April 4th, 1967, exactly 365 days prior to his assassination, at Harlem’s historic Riverside Church, the fearless reverend delivered a scathing sermon about the United States involvement in the Vietnam War titled – Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence. He assessed:
“Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart… Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the Black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them 8,000 miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in Southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching [Black] and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.”
During his ‘Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution’ dissertation, Dr. King declared:
“There can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in the world today. In a sense it is a triple revolution: that is, a technological revolution, with the impact of automation and cybernation; then there is a revolution in weaponry, with the emergence of atomic and nuclear weapons of warfare; then there is a human rights revolution, with the freedom explosion that is taking place all over the world. Yes, we do live in a period where changes are taking place. And there is still the voice crying through the vista of time saying, ‘Behold, I make all things new; former things are passed away.’”
“It is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of life for the vast majority of Americans, spoken and unspoken, acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle—the disease of racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic. And I can see nothing more urgent than for America to work passionately and unrelentingly—to get rid of the disease of racism.”
A strategic move which never manifested was the proposed liaison between two of that era’s most influential Black leaders.
“If Malcolm and King had lived [longer] – they were about to come together and become one movement – there would be a totally different world today, and they [the powers-that-be] couldn’t allow that to happen,” determined activist Atiim Ferguson. “When they saw that happening, that was the death-warrant for both of those men.”
Dr. King once proclaimed… “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!”
He went on to dissect many social ills which plague his people in the land of the free, like the imperialistic Vietnam War… as King revealed… “No matter where it leads, and no matter what abuses it may bring… it’s an evil war, and I’m going to tell the truth!”
Forty-five years after Martin’s murder, his message of self-determination still resonates beyond the hallow dreams that have been sold to the masses for the past few centuries.
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively, and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education,” informed the 1964 Noble Peace Prize winner.
“One of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses that the new situation demands,” Dr. King concluded. “They end up sleeping through a revolution!”
-IcePick Slim 17(@ICEPICKSLIM17)