One idea which I defintely tried to get across last year is that Martin Luther King was much more radical than many people typically realize. He is often seen and presented as an establishment figure, comforting, non-threatening. His image is so "establishment" that even conservative Republicans feel safe quoting him (either out of ignorance or cynicism) in order to oppose affirmative action. In reality, he was very critical of American foreign policy, even to the point of calling the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" in his Beyond Vietnam speech. He was also critical of capitalism as a system and advocated an alternative.
he said what?
no seriously, he said what?
martin luther king, right?
It is tempting for some people to think that King just gave the "I have a dream" speech and that magically (see the magical negro) Civil Rights came into existence. But that just ignores the massive amounts of effort and energy put in by the people, united... Also, the dream speech does not even exhaust the scope or depth of King's thought. I really hope that the various media outlets will choose to highlight any other speech on Monday. But if you want to explore other parts of King's words and actions on your own, here are some nice mlk references
Finally, here is a beautiful poem (in Spanish) on Dr. King and his powerful black soul by former Cuban poet laureate, Nicolas Guillen called: ¿qué color?