Today we remember and honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Growing up, we learned about Dr. King in elementary school. His “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the first things that comes to mind when MLK Jr. Day comes around every January. But, while his infamous speech was revolutionary, the extent of Dr. King’s work standing up to and dismantling white supremacy goes far beyond one speech. Today I wanted to learn a deeper history of his life and the work he did that still continues today.
The narrative surrounding Dr. King is not complete to who he was and what he fought for. What you know about Dr. King might only be just the surface. This video from AJ+ posted on Twitter explains that his legacy and the reality of the Civil Rights Movement is often “sanitized” in that the more radical beliefs of civil rights leaders including Dr. King are not as widely taught. These beliefs include condemning capitalism, America’s imperialistic tendencies, and classism.
Take 10 minutes to watch below:
According to the NAACP website, during his lifetime Dr. King:
- co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to stage nonviolent protests against the racist Jim Crowe laws of the south
- worked closely with the NAACP to achieve desegregation of public spaces in Birmingham, AL
- led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom of 1963 with other civil rights leaders in the SCLC and the NAACP
- helped get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed
- co-led the Selma-to-Montgomery March of 1965
- helped get the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed
- advocated for economic equity
- denounced America’s efforts to fight in Vietnam
- denounced capitalism
Dr. King’s Work Continues Today: “No celebration without legislation”
Today, the work of Dr. King and of other civil rights leaders continues. AJ+ also posted about a march taking place today, led by Dr. King’s family. Specifically, these two acts are the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Find more information on what all is included in these proposed voter rights legislations on NBC.
19 states passed anti-voter laws in 2021, and 18 will consider carryover bills this year, says @BrennanCenter. #MLKDay— AJ+ (@ajplus) January 17, 2022
▪️ Mail-in voting restrictions
▪️ Cuts to voting hours
▪️ Voter purges
▪️ Barriers to voters with disabilities
▪️ Bans on water to voters in line pic.twitter.com/b1FDdIq4BV
Find more information on Dr. King’s legacy as well as more info on other civil rights leaders on the NAACP website.