Sunday, January 23, 2011
Publisher's Note: The Man, The Myth, The Legend, The KING!
Correspondent: C/ Dwayne West
I was having a conversation a few days ago with a friend, when they candidly asked my thoughts on the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King. The question was from left-field, but, like the quick witted man I am, my response was forthright.
She asked if Dr. King is as relevant today, as he was decades ago. My reply, Dr. King will always be relevant. He’s as relevant as Gandhi, John F. Kennedy and even as relevant as Jesus Christ.
The latter comparison was to show the impact the legendary Dr. King had on America. Dr. King gave his life to a movement, just like Jesus gave his life for his people. Dr. King marched city after city, state after state fighting for change and equality. His journey equals the efforts of Jesus walk. And just like Christ, King knew his demise was imminent, and he chose to persist and move forward. Dr. King was aware of haters, who plotted and schemed to undermine his battle to bring peaceful resolutions to issues plaguing America.
The next question was focused on the youth, and if they knew who Dr. King was, and value and understand his mission. I replied by saying some do and most probably don’t. And if that’s the case, it’s the parents, adults and educators who are to blame.
Kids are empty in the head at birth; until their parents and select adults (relatives, teachers, counselors, etc.) give them information that can help shape their sponge like minds. I asked my friend, if you don’t know something, you ask someone or you find someone who has the information.
Well, kids don’t operate that way for the most part. What they don’t know, they don’t know, until so-called wise ones feed their unspoken appetite for information. All-in-all, the adults of the community have failed the youth, if they're not totally knowledgeable of King’s legacy.
Parents and adults continue to let the educational system give our youth a one dimensional outlook on Dr. King. We rely on a failed system to educate our kids to King's amazing, but limited accomplishments. I say limited, because in the history books provided to students, the only thing that’s taught is the “I Have a Dream Speech’ and the non-violence movement King was responsible for.
Martin Luther has over 200 recognizable speeches in his archives, and the non-violence platform was not the only tent he challenged the system under.
The final question asked, was do I think King’s philosophy can be used today, and do I think there’ve been major accomplishments since his death?
Dr. King’s non-violent philosophy was and still is legit. But of course we have powerful thinking men who use war to combat, control and dictate the lives of other countries. These same men preach non-violence and compromise, but sneak-off in the night and wage hand-to-hand combat with alleged enemies of the states.
My final answer to the question was my most passionate, because we have millions of success stories within the Black race. For instance, if you travel into downtown Chicago, you’ll see tens of thousands of Black men and women making their hurried grind to their preferred professions. And if you go south, north or west, you’re witness tens of hundreds or Black men and women directing traffic, protecting communities, putting out fires, picking up garbage, driving our kids to and from schools and teaching hundreds of thousands of Black boys and girls to read, write and communicate effectively.
These are all success stories!
It's a fact Dr. King is a mystery to most young people under 20, but yet a legend to people post and pre-civil rights. And Dr. King is the man to most people in my generation (two generations removed from the civil rights movement). So, regardless of his untimely, historical and violent death, his remarkably short-life and enormous body of work as a leader, father and husband, no one can reject the legacy of the KING. Peace and one love.
(Carl West, CEO/MG Media, managing editor/TBTNewsService.com, producer/ The TRUTH Awards, executive producer & host/TRUTH B Told on-line radio show, co-founder/Next Generation Leadership Council, executive director/TRUTH 4 Literacy after school mentor program)