King Had A Dream But Do We Even Have a Plan? By RALPH BAILEY

King Had A Dream But Do We Even Have a Plan? By RALPH BAILEY

I was five years old when one of the greatest revolutionary leaders the world has ever seen was gunned down in Memphis. In fact, my family lived nearby as my father concluded his education at Meherry Medical School in Nashville. An education, I might add, that began at The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s beloved alma mater, Morehouse College. Since that fateful day the black community has long searched for someone to fill in the gigantic footsteps left by the Nobel Peace Prize winner. But the problem does not lie in trying to find someone to emulate King. The problem rests with our inability to really recall who King was and what he represented. For example, it is assumed that King was a staunch Democrat. True but a pragmatic Black leader who warned of being attached and therefore ultimately taken for granted by one party. King refused to endorse young John Kennedy in 1960 for those very reasons and now the Black community is just beginning to shake the shackles of unappreciated representation by the liberal party. Secondly, King was a gun owner. Civil disobedience has nothing to do with the protection of one’s family and home. King’s only true fear was what would become of his growing family and those fears reared their ugly head when King’s home was bombed while living in Birmingham. King famously quelled an angry crowd calling for blood the night his home was leveled. But he was also seen putting away his shotgun once his family was safe and the nightmare had passed. Finally, Dr. King was an open book. His thoughts and beliefs are well chronicled in his speeches, quotes and writings. But to emulate his dream we must once again pick up his work and know the man as well as we know Beyoncé or Shaq or the lyrics to the latest hip hop ditty. Dr. King was a pragmatic leader who knew the only highway to victory over an oppressed government was Black America Vs. United States in court. But he simultaneously prescribed to the belief that the only way to upend an intruder was with a Smith and Wesson.

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