By David Brooks
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
English Article Goes Here
The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was killed 50 years ago (April 4) in Memphis, marking the bloodiest moment of what would be a 1968 that shook the United States and various parts of the world. Half a century later, this country is in the midst of a reactionary wave that has elevated a white supremacist backed by the Ku Klux Klan to the presidency, almost enough to make fun of King’s famous dream.
But it is worth remembering that King, when he was assassinated, was no longer just the man with a dream of racial equality, but a Nobel Prize winner and international moral authority who had dared in his later years to question and condemn his country’s economic and imperial system, including the war against Vietnam.
King went to Memphis, in the southern state of Tennessee, to support a union garbage workers strike in the name of economic and social justice. At the same time, he was organizing a national mobilization called the Poor People’s Campaign to demand economic rights for the underprivileged of all races and colors, a fundamental change in the U.S. capitalist system.
In the official rites and celebrations that King receives each year, it recalls his famous I Have a Dream speech, which he gave in 1963, but they almost never mention the radical message at the end of his life.
In 1967, King told a civil rights organization that the movement must address the issue of a restructuring of American society as a whole, adding that doing so meant coming to see that the problems of racism, economic exploitation, and war were all linked. These are interrelated evils. On the issue of economic injustice, he did not limit it to a racial issue: Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair are destroyed by the battering rams of the forces of justice.
A few months earlier, he commented at a meeting of a civil rights organization: I think it is necessary to realize that we have moved from an era of civil rights to an era of human rights (…) we see that there has to be a radical redistribution of economic and political power…’.
Fifty years later, despite major changes in the country’s laws and regulations around institutional racism, crowned by the election of the first African-American president and what that means in a country founded on the backs of slaves, in essence, little seems to have changed.
An AP/NORC poll last week found that only one in 10 African Americans think the United States has met the goals of the civil rights movement half a century ago (35 percent of whites believe it has) after two rounds by an African-American president.
Fifty years later, new generations are continuing the fight against economic inequality, which has reached a record level in almost a century, with 1 percent of the richest families controlling nearly twice the wealth of 90 percent of the poor.
Fifty years later, incidents of official violence provoke fury. Impunity prevails as before, and indicators of segregation and racism multiply along with, and part of, the official anti-immigrant policies. Not to mention militarism in a country that has been in its longest wars in its history hoping to forget Vietnam.
But in the face of this, 50 years later, King’s echoes are heard all over the country.
Teachers in Oklahoma will begin a strike this Monday, following the triumphant example of their West Virginia peers, demanding not only a living wage and respect for their work – as they did 50 years ago in Memphis – but also greater investment in public education, especially to serve the poor and minorities; their counterparts in Kentucky (where teachers declared themselves sick by closing schools in 26 counties last Friday), Arizona and Wisconsin
African-American Rev. William Barber, famous for his Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina in 2013, which fought state initiatives to reduce spending on education and healthcare and to overturn some electoral rights, is resurrecting King’s Poor People’s Campaign this spring, and declaring, as his predecessor, that this is a moral issue.
Martin Luther King was honored in many places around the world today on the 50th anniversary of his murder.
Author: International Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
April 4, 2018 21:04:51
WASHINGTON: The life and work of Martin Luther King, a symbol of the struggle for civil rights in the United States, was remembered in the United States and much of the world today.
The murderous bullet that killed the renowned Baptist pastor in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, deprived humanity of one of its most tireless activists, who has since become an example to many of those who dream of a better world, reports Prensa Latina.
King dedicated his life to demanding an end to discrimination in the United States, where hundreds of years after the war of independence, blacks could not access certain places and had no right to vote.
He was also a harsh critic of the Vietnam War.
Despite the public notoriety he achieved, the activist was investigated and harassed by the FBI. In recent years, the real extent of the official political persecution of his movement, which included wiretaps of private calls and the spread of unfounded rumors, has come to light.
This Wednesday, personalities from around the world remembered his historic speech on the Lincoln Memorial esplanade in Washington, D.C., where he spoke the historic phrase “I have a dream.”
Half a century later, many of their demands remain unfulfilled in the United States, where discrimination and differences between blacks and whites continue to be a daily reality.
King’s granddaughter, Yolanda Renee, recently climbed on a platform to remember the Baptist pastor’s words when he asked that “his four little children be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
“I have a dream where we’ve had enough and where this world is one free of weapons. Period,” said the nine-year-old.
For his part, the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, recalled the legacy of the American social leader in a message published on Twitter.
“Martin Luther King was shot in the head in 1968 while greeting his followers in Memphis, Tennessee. Venezuelan young people must know their struggle and their dreams for us to make them a reality,” Maduro said.
Meanwhile, in Cuba, he was honored in a monument erected to his memory in the central park of 23 y F in the Vedado neighborhood.
The memorial event, organized by the Memorial Center that bears his name, opens a broader agenda of activities to be carried out this year related to the event.
Victor Fowler, director of the Centro Cultural Dulce María Loynaz, said Martin Luther King was an example of commitment and strength.
By Marylín Luis Grillo
Posted: Wednesday 04 April 2018 | 09:35:06 PM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
It was a single shot from a Remington-Peters rifle. Martin Luther King Jr. had fallen in Memphis, Tennessee.
Hours earlier, in a sermon, as if in anticipation of the bullet that tried to quell his throat, he had said to the congregation of the city: “We have difficult days ahead of us […] Like everyone else, I would like to have a long life. […] But that doesn’t worry me now. I just want to do God’s will. And he has allowed me to climb to the top of the mountain. And from there I saw the promised land. I may not get to her with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will reach the Promised Land. And I’m happy about it. Nothing worries me.
Luther King, who at the age of 39 had won the Nobel Peace Prize, had led a non-violent struggle for the civil rights of the African-American community, which had become the banner of hope… King did not die, because dreams do not die, they only come true.
The results of their struggle are not yet complete. Fifty years after his murder, the United States is still convulsed by inequality. The latest statistics illustrate that African-Americans suffer three times as many expulsions and school dropouts, their average household income is half that of white families, and with only 13 percent of the population, El País reported, they account for 40 percent of drug arrests.
A study by the Inequality of Opportunity Project also concluded that racial income disparities are one of the most persistent issues in American society, and that the racial identity to which one belongs marks the opportunities for study, work, salary levels, and social advancement from generation to generation.
Black people are also three times more likely than whites to be victims of police in the United States, and in 2015 alone, for example, with Barack Obama in the White House, law enforcement officers killed more unarmed blacks than armed whites. Faced with an Afro-descendant, the trigger is pulled without much attention.
Police repression, increasing inequality, debates in society about the role of identity groups, and Trump’s racist rhetoric are some of the factors that have led to the resurgence of movements like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the birth of others like Black Lives Matter.
“No Justice, No Peace” said one of the posters that flooded the streets of Sacramento a week ago protesting the death of another black man by police, 22-year-old Stephon Clark, who was shot down in the Californian capital on suspicion of breaking car windows and running around with a cell phone in his hand, which officers said they mistook for a gun.
Police opened fire up to 20 times on Clark and eight bullets hit him, seven from behind. The video of the arrest hardly shows whether the young man was approaching the officers or not. They do not order him to freez, or to lie on the ground, after the first order to show his hands, they immediately shout “gun” and shoot. The city has been shaken up again, but it is not enough.
This is a good time to remember Luther King. Less than two weeks ago, her nine-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee, was repeating the mythical words “I have a dream. She called for “a world without weapons”. His father, Martin Luther King III, son of the pastor, announced Friday the launch of a global initiative to encourage young people to focus on non-violence to resolve their conflicts.
The struggle continues, but it must be carried to its end; “from the mountain of despair, a stone of hope,” Dr. King would say. He was the same one who never stopped spreading faith because he had died: no bullet can kill dreams.