MLK was radical, but not in the way they want. He did something that changed the country for the better, or at least he had hopped for the better. He was a peaceful man and he stressed that. This is not what BLM people want, sadly.
The civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. famously pursued equality through peaceful protest, but many 21st century activists have said they want to “reclaim” him under a different image: as a forceful “radical.”
The Chicago branch of Black Lives Matter pushed the #ReclaimMLK hashtag on Twitter, claiming Martin Luther King Day would allow activists to “engage about the real radical King they don’t want you to know about!”
“We do King a disservice when we try to tell a flat story of turning the other cheek,” said 31-year-old Charlene Carruthers, national director of the Black Youth Project 100 in Chicago. “It was never simply that.”
King’s niece, the activist, author and Fox News contributor Alveda King, said protesters should not push his civil disobedience successes into the background. “Let’s discuss racism from a peace with justice perspective,” she tweeted ahead of Martin Luther King Day.
Younger black activists say they prefer the pointed, more forceful King to the Nobel Prize-winning pacifist who preached love over hate while leading nonviolent marches across the segregated South. They say they appreciate how the urgency exhibited in King’s demand for equality in the years just before his 1968 assassination is in keeping with the Black Lives Matter rallying cry.
“There is a Martin Luther King that is important to the resistance movement that we don’t hear about,” Abdul Aliy-Muhammad, the 33-year-old co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Collective in Philadelphia, told The Associated Press. “We always hear about love and forgiveness. … There was also a King who was radical.”
As Carruthers sees it, “agitation” was the core of King’s work. “Their agitation shows up differently than how our agitation shows up today. However, I think King’s work and the work we do are part of the larger tradition of black radical resistance.”