King Would Be Against King Day

I am a fan of Martin Luther King, Jr. I've read three of his biographies, listened to, read and watched a number his sermons and I've even taken a grad. school course on him. Now, I am no expert on the man but I do have to say, I think he'd be against MLK Day. Afterall, it was King himself who said he didn't want an elaborate funeral or an ornate memorial. I have to wonder if King, who fought so hard for vocational and educational eqauality, would love the fact that on his "day" everyone stops working and learning? I agree with Vernon Harding that, at this point, King's "day" proves nothing more than the fact that America has amnesia. Indeed, on this day we hear sound-bytes and clips, segments of speeches and interviews. We only see and hear the tamed down, memorable stuff. This man's life is reduced to a few good quotes from lectures. We don't see clips of white's torturing and murdering blacks and we don't see footage of the KKK burning crosses and throwing bombs. No, we domesticate all that the Civil Rights Movement and King stood for, into one day that gives some people time off of work and some kids time off of school. Honestly, it is sickening.

Perhaps some poetry will capture what I'm trying to say best. I offer to you, the words of C. W. Himes, Jr.:

Now that he is safely dead,
let us praise him,
build monuments to his glory,
sing hosannahs to his name.
Dead men make
such convenient heroes; They
cannot rise
to challenge the images
we would fashion from their lives
And besides,
it's easier to build monuments
than to make a better world.
So, now that he is safely dead,
we, with eased consciences
will teach our children
that he was a great man......knowing
that the cause for which he lived
is still a cause
and the dream for which he died
is still a dream,
a dead man's dream.

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