In 1975, I opened my fresh new Language Arts textbook and found that some pages had been cut out. I walked up to my teacher’s desk and his response was,
“I did that. It was a story about Martin Luther King. I don’t want you reading about some nigger who went around stirring up trouble.”
Yesterday, I was talking with an elderly woman who didn’t realize today was a holiday.
“What holiday is it?”
“Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday,” I replied.
“I swear. What do you have to do to get a day named after you? He didn’t do nothing.”
This morning, I was talking to a man in his 70s about King’s legacy.
“I know he preached non-violence,” he said, “but as soon as he’d finish his speeches, blacks would go around breaking into stores and stealing stuff. I don’t care what the history books say. I saw it on TV.”
While King is celebrated as a saint by nearly all African Americans and a vast majority of white Americans as well, there is still a pervasive racial attitude among some – perhaps those who find themselves on the wrong side of history – that King was anything but heroic.
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.