R.I.P. To Dr. King’s Dream (1963-2012)?

I don’t really think Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would hardly care about a monument being erected in his honor on the Washington Mall.

He probably would have rather that money be spent helping the poor. And now, an insignificant debate is forcing the statue to undergo alterations, after critics complained that the abbreviated “drum major” quote changed the meaning and made Dr. King sound egotistical. Who really cares, right? Shouldn’t the focus be on who is carrying out the meaning of that “drum major” quote?  Are we no longer focused on doing the works of Dr. King, but rather on being skilled quotologists arguing over an inscription? Dr. King wouldn’t approve of this.

He was assassinated 10 years before I was born. As an elementary, middle, and high school student, I learned about him once a year through plays, books, lectures, and his ever-quoted “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington. However, like many of my classmates at that time, I did not truly understand Dr. King because all we heard was that he was the dreamer, the dreamer, the dreamer.

When I got to college, I discovered that we had been robbed of the true essence of this man and his evolution that took place before his last days among us. I learned more about a wide-awake Dr. King that rallied against the Vietnam War to call on America to take care of its poor at home. Do you think Dr. King would have joined Occupy Wall Street and supported the Arab Spring?

I learned about a Dr. King that delivered an anti-war speech titled “Breaking the Silence” in 1967; a Dr. King that said, “I’m tired of marching for something that should have been mine at birth;” a Dr. King that was spied on and plotted against by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI COINTELPRO from 1961 to 1968; the Dr. King that was lied on by the government; the Dr. King that met one-on-one with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam in 1966; and the Dr. King that many in America did not like, yet his face has adorned a U.S. postal stamp.

My eyes came open to a different Dr. King than the one my teachers gave to me. This disturbed me, because I wondered why we were not taught these things about Dr. King early on in school. Unfortunately, this cycle continues in 2012, with schools force-feeding our young people a watered-down Dr. King by omitting his post-”I Have a Dream” years. This man wanted an end to what he called the “triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism.” Are our children being robbed?

“Celebrating” Dr. King’s birthday has even become a lucrative business for corporations, ahem The 1%, and for those today that so-call “praise” him, but never would have been with him post-”I Have a Dream.”

The Dr. King of 1963 was not the same man in 1968. His life was cut short just as he was evolving. We all evolve as human beings, but it seems as if we want to only minimize his impact to one speech, one march, one moment. This is not to say I don’t think the speech was and is powerful—because I do.

Yes, Dr. King cared about the condition of Black people and called on us to do something for self, get better organized, build economically, and grow in political power. Read this and more in his 1967 speech “The Black Power Defined.” I’m sure some will be quick to call this “separatism”, “Black nationalism” or “racism.”

In 1968, Dr. King and the SCLC organized the “Poor People’s Campaign” to address issues of economic justice and take a stand for the poor of all races in America. How much more could you and I do for the poor in our communities, cities, states and country?

If Dr. King were here today, I believe he would still be beating the drum of the anti-war movement and would not be silent. I believe he would oppose the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and any moves being made to go to war with Iran. I believe he would oppose what is being done by Israel and the billions of dollars in aid being given to them by America. Furthermore, I can’t honestly think he would be encouraging our young people to join the military to go and fight unjust wars. Matter of fact, Dr. King would be a conscientious objector.

Dr. King would be condemning the death penalty and would have been protesting the murder of Troy Davis alongside his family. As for President Barack Obama, I think Dr. King would be one of those whom he would have to get off of the streets and detain in the name of the National Defense Authorization Act. Could you imagine President Obama arresting a man who paved the way for him? I could.

Dr. King would want us to honor him – not with just parades, floats, songs, dance, plays, speeches, t-shirts, street signs, statues or even a national day off from work. How about we teach more than the “safe version” of Dr. King? How about we fight for the poor? How about we accept responsibility to build our own communities?

If we’re not doing the works of Dr. King, then the dream is dead. Isn’t it time to move pass just dreaming? It takes more than dreaming. It takes action by all of us.

Follow Brother Jesse Muhammad on Twitter (@BrotherJesse).


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  • Gary Simmons

    Amazing how the real articles don’t have any comments.  Well written.

  • TheBoxcarHobo

    Although I disagree with a few points you made, overall this is a damn good article.

  • FreedomThinkers

    It’s funny how when AHH posted Brother Jesse’s Common/Drake piece, they comments came flooding in. Now that he’s dropping some jewels about Dr. King…crickets….truly shows where our head is.

  • NiggaFr33z0ver

    I think if Dr. King were stil here, he mght have been our first black prez…had he been alive in the presnt time..i feel our people have forgot wut th man was all about. i stay n the phx area and every year there is a celebration and every year there is some sort of blood shed…now instead of the kkk comin to kill us off…the bloods kill the crips…or the neighborhoods beefin wit the corner poccets…and the white folks sit back and laugh while we harm and kill each other on Dr. King’s birthday…much love to Dr. King but we need somethin/ somebody today…these kids is lost out here…runnin wit and followin other lost ones….all i can do is pray for em… 

    • NorthDollasTX

      say YOUNGBLOOD i want you to research who John Hanson (1st Black President before the United States Constitution) and dont never, ever, ever let’em tell you any different or that he was a WHITE man
      black spanish moors conquered 3/4 of the world as its known today – research that too because they tie in with each other

    • Da Untold

      Keep blaming the young generation. MLK did it for his generation everyone didnt follow suit after his death so its just not right to keep putting all of the problems we have on our youth. Our youth is our only hope because obviously what weve done for centuries isnt working

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  • MrTroyMercy

    This a great article great insight .

  • SDS_Overfiend

    You would think on a day like this Black on Black Violence would take a backseat or There would be some sort of celebration… I mean hey Niggas always making Miami out to be one big celebration everyday.. Dreams Don’t Die… I still believe in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dream.

  • rep87

    FOR AHH to show some respect stop promoting the GARBAGE you and others like mtv all these fake azz gangstrs and homo thugs white trash down low guys gay women and devil loving junkies you try and say are artist

  • NorthDollasTX

    Brother Jesse … i looked at these comments and had to laugh because the OVERALL comments and views are a complete polar opposite to that HIP-HOP/LOUIS FARRKAHN blog you dropped a few weeks back … i see you back on your campaign WINNING THE PEOPLE OVER – SHAKING HANDS AND KISSING BABIES … good work bruvah!

  • TimeWillTellu1

    Good read!  If everyone would just put in some type of effort it will all add up in the end.  

  • I agree with everything in this article with the exception of the NDAA. There is some controversy, in part because the law as written is very vague. But the law was written to allow the indefinite detention of US citizens abroad as well as foreigners who are suspected of terrorism. Now, if the shady government would try using it domestically is another question. 
    Now If some dumb guy/girl on the internet or on the phone saying that they want to do violent things to the country. They should be arrested. The crazy thing is people would be outraged if another attack occurred and founded out that a agency in the government knew or had some entail on the attack before it happened but didn’t detain the suspect.
    Americans complain too damn much. I believe that the Patriots Act is intrusive, but is a unfortunate necessity. The same goes for all the seemingly unnecessary body searches. I venture to say that if the airports done that shit in 2001, it could have had a greater chance of preventing 2001/9/11. 
    Shit in america has gotten too politically correct. Anyway much respect to your post my man.
    We need more serious conversations in our culture.