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Removing the King’s Crown
It is generally believed that Martin Luther King, Jr., was an intelligent African-American who promoted harmony between the races. Numerous books-all of which talk about his deeds of valor to promote good-will between both blacks and whites during a time when riots and strife regularly occurred in America-have been written about his life. He is generally regarded as a man of ethics, a man who fought against injustices. After all, he did receive the Nobel Peace Prize; and that, in itself, is something that is admired throughout the world.
However, there is another side of King-one which no one dares to discuss. In today’s politically correct society, it seems that much of King’s life-the parts that do not convey his image of a leader who promoted peace-have been forgotten. Very few people, especially those people who were not alive during the time that King promoted his brotherhood, have heard about this other side of King. I challenge everything you have been taught about King’s love of people and life, about his nonviolent tactics, and about his beliefs and ethics.
A Man Named Michael
The Nonviolent Advocate
Supralegal Love and the Man
All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men
(or, The Deceptive Name-Game)
Eskimos in Florida
Le Roi Est Mort, Vive le Roi!
A Man Named Michael
On January 15, 1929, a boy by the name of Michael was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His father’s name was also Mike. Many friends and relatives called the child ?Little Mike.?1
Little Mike’s family was somewhat wealthy, despite the poverty surrounding them during the great depression; and he lived in a 13-room house.2 His father, who was often called ?Daddy? by Little Mike and people in the community, came from several generations of African-American Southern Baptist preachers.3 Daddy was married to a woman by the name of Alberta. She had attended Spelman College, a school in Atlanta for black women, and was the daughter of the first president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Atlanta chapter.4 Little Mike had a sister named Christine and a brother named Alfred.
Daddy was extremely religious and followed the Old Testament teachings word-for-word. He felt that such activities as ?dancing or playing cards? were considered immoral.5 Oftentimes, he ?whipped? his son, Little Mike, for misbehaving.6
In 1934, after touring Bethlehem and Jerusalem at the expense of the Ebenezer Baptist Church’s congregation, Daddy proclaimed that he wanted to be called Martin Luther King and his son, Little Mike, would be renamed Martin Luther King, Jr.7 Daddy did that because he admired the work of the protestant reformer in Germany, Dr. Martin Luther, for whom the Lutheran church is named after. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sr. both went by those names during the rest of their lives.
Like most children, King, Jr., played with other children. When he was young, a white child, with whom King had been friends, rejected him. King reacted to this and decided from thenceforth, he said, to ?hate every white person.?8 Because of that, he did not socialize much with whites until college.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was academically advanced for his age. At the age of 15, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.9 From there, he entered Crozier Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. While attending Crozier Seminary, he was introduced to and influenced by the late Dr. Mordecai Johnson, president of Harvard, who was a strong believer in Hindu leader Mahatma Gandhi.10
In 1955, when Martin Luther King, Jr., was only 26 years old, he became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.11 It was during that time he first gained public acclaim. There was an incident in which he participated that gained national attention.
Conquering the Castles
On December 1, 1955, the event that led to King’s claim-to-fame occurred when a bus driver ordered some African-Americans to stand so that some whites could sit. Rosa Parks, an African-American lady, refused. She was arrested. King protested. He felt that the system, which allowed sitting privileges for whites on buses, was completely intolerable. (In some places in the South during that time, African-Americans, although allowed to ride on the same bus as whites, had to use the seats in the back.) King was head of the Montgomery Improvement Association boycott against the city’s bus system.12 Because King was articulate, had no apparent skeletons in his closet, and was unafraid of the city’s leaders, he was the natural spokesman against the busing system. (Rosa Parks and the bus-boycotts are discussed in more detail in another chapter.)
On May 2, 1956, King’s demand for integrated buses was met. He, then, articulated the rest of his plan: ?Two of our original proposals have been met, but we are awaiting on the third: employment of Negro bus drivers for predominantly Negro routes.?13 While no one should be denied a place to sit, it seems unnecessary and extreme to force white bus drivers from their jobs of driving in ?predominantly Negro routes.? Evidently, it seems that King felt that the implementation of preferential treatment for African-American applicants was a noble idea.
One of King’s aides mentioned, on King’s behalf, the preferential treatment that they sought. On Sunday, July 21, 1963, KTTV in Los Angeles, California, and other stations across the U.S. had a show called The American Experience. A few prominent African-Americans were featured on the show: Wyatt Walker, an aid to Martin Luther King, Jr.; Malcolm X (Little), who was a minister of the Nation of Islam at the time; Allen Morrison, editor of the magazine Ebony; and James Farmer, the head of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Malcolm X said that his Muslims wanted whites to give African-Americans a nation, businesses, houses, et cetera far away from white people. The others felt somewhat different. Walker, Farmer, and Morrison demanded full integration and ?compensatory preference?-the exact term used-by coercive force if necessary. They felt that ?mere equality? was insufficient; ?massive preferential treatment,? they said, was to be required. They felt that African-Americans should be paid more for the same jobs that whites do; that employers should fire whites and replace them with African-Americans; that employers should actively go out and find African-Americans, provide transportation, and hire them-qualified or not; that the constitution must be changed or replaced to enforce this; that America should rapidly move towards a socialist system; and that violent revolutionary measures would be taken if America failed to do this. Unfortunately, a number of politicians in Congress granted many of the demands, despite the protests of a few honorable Americans.
Whenever King’s demands were not met, he used force and intimidation. In February of 1966, all the King’s horses and all the King’s men decided to launch an attack on a castle. The castle, which they assumed ?trusteeships? of, was a six-flat tenement in Chicago. This was done as part of his campaign to gain power among the poor and, he claimed, to help them. King had no authority to do that; his power was only that which is derived from police-state tactics. King felt that his ?morality? was more important than the law and property rights; he deemed his actions to be ?supralegal?-above the law.14
On several occasions, King preached that African-Americans should disobey any ?unjust laws.? At the time, there were some communities that did not allow African-Americans to vote in full force by imposing certain restrictions on voters. (Some communities required that you had to be able to read and write in order to vote, and many blacks living in rural areas were illiterate.) King said that the people who resided in those communities did not have to obey the laws. Notwithstanding communities where all blacks did have the right to change the laws by voting, King went to the extreme of suggesting that blacks should not obey any laws that they disliked. On March 28, 1965, while King was on the television show Meet the Press, he stated his opinion of laws:
?I do feel there are two types of laws. One is a just law, and one is an unjust law. I think we all have moral obligations to disobey unjust laws.
?I think that the distinction here is that when one breaks a law that his conscience tells him is unjust, he must do it openly. He must do it cheerfully. He must do it lovingly. And he must do it with a willingness to accept the penalty.?15
King is quoted as suggesting, ?There may be a community where Negroes have the right to vote, but there are still unjust laws in that community. There may be unjust laws in a community where people in large numbers are voting, and I think wherever unjust laws exist people on the basis of consciences have a right to disobey the laws.?16 However, King’s suggestion to disobey ?unjust laws? is something that could lead to anarchy. Who would decide what is a just and unjust law? Martin Luther King, Jr., apparently decided what laws should and should not be obeyed. (Stokely Carmichael, a militant African-American, voiced an ideology very similar to King’s comments but much more blatant: ?To hell with the law.?17 Certainly, Carmichael, much like King, felt his actions were ?supralegal,? as if he was obeying a higher law-his own.) When King’s actions of disobeying ?unjust laws? landed him in jail, he could always count on some good Samaritans to bail him out.
The late Thurgood Marshall, an African-American who became a member of the Supreme Court, was one of those good Samaritans. He was unhappy with the way King gave his bills to the NAACP when Marshall served as the director-counsel for the group. ?With Martin Luther King’s group, all he did was to dump all his legal work on us, including the bills,? said Marshall. ?And that was all right with him. So long as he didn’t have to pay the bills.?18 Because of problems between King and the NAACP’s Chicago chapter, that chapter eventually, formally split with King’s group.19
Indeed, King did feel that he could decide what was legal and what was not. He felt that rules did not really matter, that he only had to obey what he chose to obey. J. Edgar Hoover, the former director of the FBI, described how King would break laws ?to obey a higher law?-King’s laws:
?Unfortunately, some civil rights leaders in the past have condoned what they describe as civil disobedience in civil rights demonstrations.
?Martin Luther King, Jr., for example, after arriving in Chicago, Ill., early in 1966 in connection with the civil rights drive there, commented about the use of so-called civil disobedience in civil rights demonstrations and said:
?`It may be necessary to engage in such acts. . . . Often, an individual has to break a particular law in order to obey a higher law.’
?Such a course of action is fraught with danger, for if everyone took it upon himself to break any law that he believed was morally unjust, it is readily apparent there would be complete chaos in this country.?20
Due to the ?turmoil inspired? by King and his friends in the 1966 Chicago riots, where he engaged in his civil rights war, Congressman Edward Derwinski of Illinois described Martin Luther King, Jr., and King’s cohorts as ?Dr. Martin Luther King [Jr.] and his professional riot-inciting group.?21 The city of Chicago held a meeting, hoping to avoid marches that were creating animosity and spreading the strength of the police dangerously thin.22 Residents noted that their attempts to appease the protesters were futile. One resident proclaimed: ?Suddenly, it dawned on us that the whole meeting was a farce. . . . Every time we’d make a concession, they’d move to a new spokesman and push for something more. They never had any intention of calling off the marches.?23 Trying to appease the unappeasable is an effort in futility, as the residents quickly learned; and the farce of the peaceful ?protest marches? resumed.
In the Chicago riot of July 1966, Mayor Richard Daley said that the strife was ?planned!? ?Dr. King’s aides were in here for no other reason than to bring disorder to the streets of Chicago,? noted Daley.24 Apparently, he was right, since King had spoken to numerous gang members prior to the ordeal. King even went to the extent of showing gang members a film of the Watts riots.
The Baltimore Sun had an interview with King, in which King’s motives were clearly demonstrated. The Baltimore Sun revealed:
?In an interview . . . Dr. King acknowledged that his `end-slums campaign in Chicago is an implementation for the concept of black power,’ but under a more palatable name.
?Dr. King acknowledged that his presence in Chicago, the street rallies, sit-ins, marches, and door-to-door campaign to sign up members of protesting [units] have more far reaching aims than the immediate dramatization of problems of impoverished Negroes. . . .
?Dr. King . . . spoke at the headquarters of the West Side Organization, where a sign on the wall said: `Burn, baby, burn, boycott, baby, boycott.’ Roving bands of youths and some adults . . . broke windows, looted stores, and stoned police cars and small police vans.?25
The riot was intense. It began when African-American youths, numbering approximately 100, stoned a police car. Martin Luther King, Jr., blamed the riot on Chicago Mayor Daley’s refusal to make concessions to the civil rights program. ?This is his typical style,? said Congressman John Ashbrook of Ohio. ?Rarely has Reverend King chastised looters, arsonists, and conspirators for violence. He always justifies their actions and, directly or indirectly, encourages them.?26 When the weekend came, Illinois Governor Kerner was forced to use the National Guard, because ?police could not control rioting that in three nights included burning, looting, two deaths, 100 injuries, and extensive property damage,? noted Congressman Ashbrook.27
King had a discussion with the militant African-American Stokely Carmichael. In the discussion, King seemingly recommended to Carmichael that he should try to ?dislocate the functioning of a city? but ?without destroying it.? These are King’s words of advice to Carmichael: ?To dislocate the functioning of a city without destroying it can be longer lasting, more costly to the society. It is more difficult for the government to quell it by force. The disruption of cities you want will become much easier.?28 Unfortunately for the U.S., King’s followers not only disrupted the city but almost destroyed a large section of Chicago following King’s speech.
Many respected African-American religious leaders felt that King was doing more harm than good and asked him to leave their cities. They said that they did not want their cities disrupted. They pleaded with King to stop his campaign, but it did no good. King continued to foment problems in the U.S.
Reverend Henry Mitchell, the leader of a group of West Side African-American ministers in Chicago who represented about 50,000 African-Americans, felt that King should ?get the hell out of here.? Mitchell and his fellow ministers felt that way because King’s civil rights marching in 1966, he said, ?brought hate.?29 ?If [King] wants to march on the West Side,? said Mitchell, ?let him march with rakes, brooms, and grass seed.? Mitchell continued, suggesting that African-Americans in the Chicago area wanted ?peace, love, and harmony,? not the violence that came to town with King.30
The late Bishop C. Fain Kyle, who was an African-American, issued a news release that said King was ?directly or indirectly responsible for the chaos, anarchy, insurrection, and rebellion brought about through demonstrations and rioting throughout the United States in recent years, months, weeks, and days.? Kyle said that King should be ?shorn of his power and imprisoned for his criminal acts and deeds for defying the courts of the land.?31
J. H. Jackson, an African-American who was president of the National Baptist Convention at Kansas City, Missouri, said that King was causing problems all over America. Jackson said that King encouraged riots. Jackson said that King’s actions were responsible for ?designing the tactics that led to a fatal riot? and the death of Rev. A. O. Wright in Detroit.32
In May of 1961, King spoke at the Southern Baptist Seminary. After he gave his speech, three churches in Alabama voted to withhold funds from the seminary.33
King often warned of impending riots if his demands were not met. In November of 1967, he delivered a speech in Cleveland, Ohio. He warned of ?massive winter riots in Cleveland, [Ohio;] Gary, [Indiana;] or in any other ghetto.?34 King said that ?a cadre of 200 hard-core disrupters will be trained in the tactics of massive nonviolence.?35 The ?massive nonviolence? mission of the ?cadre of 200 hard-core disrupters? was ominous: ?nationwide city-paralyzing demonstrations.?36 King even went to the extent of threatening two mayors, suggesting that they would be the ?two outstanding men we have set up as lambs for the slaughter.?37 King said that he was ?very pleased? with certain ?victories of creative black power? (emphasis added).38 The young boy who swore to ?hate every white person? was now a man, and he was keeping the promise that he made in his youth.
King’s insurrectionist-tactics were commonplace among the places that he attended. In one instance, King went to Albany, Georgia, and threatened to have a new drive for African-American rights. Ten days later, King ?set a day of penance following a night of rioting, during which Negroes were arrested as they marched on city hall, hooting, laughing, and throwing bottles, bricks, and rocks at law officials,? said former Congressman John Ashbrook of Ohio.39 The situation had been maintained, reported the chief of police, until King returned to the city for an ?illegal demonstration.?40
When the FBI expanded COINTELPRO (Counter-Intelligence Program) in 1967 to include ?Black Nationalist-Hate Groups,? King’s Southern Christian Leadership (SCLC) was targeted, along with the Nation of Islam.41 King was probably under that listing because he would often associate with minorities who hated whites. For instance, he was allied with Cassius Clay (a.k.a. Muhammad Ali), a professional African-American boxer who at the time was a member of the Nation of Islam.42 (Later, however, it appears that Clay changed his beliefs, unlike King.) King, also, met with Malcolm X, and King had a meeting with Stokely Carmichael, offering him words of advice. And, on February 24, 1966, Martin Luther King, Jr., met with Elijah Muhammad, leader of the neo-Muslims.43
During the National Conference for New Politics, which had King listed as a member of its national council, King delivered a speech. The people who attended were Vietnam war protesters, black power advocates, civil rights workers, representatives from a number of leftist organizations, and others. The Chicago Tribune of September 6, 1967, said that the convention ?turned out to be an assembly of crackpots and innocent do-gooders who meekly did the bidding of a handful of black power fanatics.? There were two marijuana parties that took place during the convention. Sex orgies took place before audiences of delegates. The words ?black power? were written on the walls, hallways and rooms of the hotel and were carved on the 15 elevators in the hotel where the delegates were staying. And, much merchandise was destroyed.44 A total of $10,000 in damage to the hotel was caused by the peaceful people who came to here King speak.
The Nonviolent Advocate
Although King spoke of ?nonviolence,? his actions were designed to elicit violence. King once said, ?Negroes will be mentally healthier if they do not suppress rage but vent it constructively and its energy peacefully but forcefully to cripple the operations of an oppressive society.?45 Notice how his apparent contradiction is utilized: He told African-Americans that they should ?not suppress rage but vent it? so that it would ?cripple the operations of an oppressive society,? yet this ?forcefully? crippling of society was to be done ?peacefully? and ?constructively.? What King was proposing was illogical and inconceivable.
Louis Waldman, a prominent black-labor lawyer, described King’s methods as follows:
?The philosophy and purpose of Dr. King’s program . . . is to produce `crisis-packed’ situations and `tension.’ Such a purpose is the very opposite of nonviolence, for the atmosphere-of-crisis policy leads to violence by provoking violence. And the provocation of violence is violence. To describe such provocation as `nonviolent’ is to trifle with the plain meaning of words.?46
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