Viewpoint: 50 Years Since the Days Following the Assassination of MLK

Response to anniversary of martyrdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. continues to conceal the historical truths

Watching and listening to the 50th anniversary commemorations of the murder of Civil Rights and antiwar leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been strikingly similar to the decades-long corporate media efforts to minimize and distort his actual legacy.

These efforts to essentially rip Dr. King out of his historical and social context are part and parcel of the overall manipulation of the perceptions surrounding the African American struggles which arose during the post-World War II period of the 1950s and 1960s.

Through every portrayal of the co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), who at the time of his death was a leading proponent of the growing demands to end the Vietnam War while building a Poor People’s Campaign to reverse underdevelopment and social inequality in the United States, Dr. King is reduced to soundbites recounting the final one minute of his April 3, 1968 address at Clayborn Temple in Memphis, which is undoubtedly one of his most outstanding presentations in his public career. The final hour-long speech placed the sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis that attracted King to the southern city within the framework of the worldwide movement to end national oppression and economic exploitation.

These themes ran through all of King’s addresses from early 1967 to the time of his assassination in Memphis. Editorials at the time in leading periodicals denounced the Civil Rights leader for his views on the Vietnam War. He was accused even by some prominent African American spokespersons of abandoning the racial struggle and damaging the realization of equality in the country.

Dr King April 4 2017

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