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Martin Luther King Jr.

The Uses and Abuses of the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

…ge (ISUPK), a Black Israelite group. Someone asked about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr since the holiday had just passed; without missing a beat, the speaker said to the person reading the Bible aloud to the audience, “Go to Deuteronomy: 13. Read!” In a booming voice several verses were read about a “prophet” and “dreamer of dreams” who “shall be put to death” because he turned away from God. The representative from the ISUPK interpreted these verses…

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Martin Luther King in the Era of Occupy

…negotiation, reframing, and, ultimately, mobilization, that Martin Luther King Jr. excelled. In post-WWII America, King was part of a new generation of Southern black ministers and congregants who played a pivotal role in “refocusing the cultural content” of African-American churches toward a theological framework capable of inspiring and sustaining mass protest. While blanket characterizations of early twentieth century black churches as heirs t…

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Martin Luther King: Libertarian and Anti-Abortion Social Conservative

The annual celebration of Martin Luther King Day started with controversies and misunderstandings of King and his legacy, mostly from conservatives who once despised and later just mistrusted King and his legacy. In the 1960s they had good reason to oppose the civil rights leader, and King had good reason to fire right back at them, as when he responded to Barry Goldwater’s opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Bill: On social and economic issues,…

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King as Inspiration, Not Guide

…nly observe the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. We are invited to remember who King was: a prophetic Christian, a preacher who preached his most important sermons through the symbolic action of the protest march—what his colleague Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel called praying with your feet. Invariably, during discussions of racial relations (usually construed as relations between black and white people) or when c…

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The Radical Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Left’s Challenge Today

…support for the project; some of these leaders, like Rev. James M. Lawson, Jr., were close collaborators with King during his lifetime. What’s called the April 4 Project represents a “beloved community” collaboration among the National Council of Elders, the National Black Justice Coalition, and a host of other justice-oriented organizations. Due to ongoing Covid concerns the event will take place in the form of a webinar, during which a celebrity…

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Illinois Pastors and Politicians Paint King as Homophobe

…es gathered near Chicago yesterday to paint a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a homophobe, um, I mean, a “man of God and a leader who fought for the civil rights of African Americans. At the same time, they made it clear that King was not a champion for gay rights. To properly remember King, according to David E. Smith, executive director of Illinois Family Institute, who attended the luncheon, people must remember that “Martin Luther Kin…

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Roe v. Wade: What Would MLK Do?

…henomena: today commemorates the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and tomorrow marks the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Significantly, both King and Roe v. Wade represent aspects of the civil rights manifold: one emphasizes the personhood of all humanity regardless of race, and the other insists upon one’s right to choice despite gender. Ironically, the battleground for civil rights based on race and gender remains under social…

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Rallies Honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s Support of Organized Labor

Forty-three years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, shot standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He had been in Memphis on behalf of the sanitation workers, who were striking for the right to organize and collectively bargain with the city. Their campaign slogan, I AM A Man, was a reference to the dignity they believed should be afforded to all workers. Elmore Nickelberry was one of the men who marched alongside…

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Why I Fear The Post-Trayvon Martin Sermon

…change—during “the most segregated hour of the week,” as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously put it? Now, the priest at my church is a fine preacher. I am certain she was up through the night retooling a sermon on the week’s gospel reading, the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), to make clear the links between the Trayvon Martin case and Jesus’s teachings about who our neighbors are—who merits our unconditional compassion and care—in…

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Hey Hey, Ho Ho White Jesus Has to Go… But The Issue is More Complicated Than You Think

…matter.” In his “Advice for Living” column for Ebony in 1957 Martin Luther King Jr. was asked, “Why did God make Jesus white, when the majority of peoples in the world are non-white?” To which King replied: “The color of Jesus’ skin is of little or no consequence…The significance of Jesus lay, not in His color, but in His unique God-consciousness and His willingness to surrender His will to God’s will.” Clearly Dr. King is trying to reassure reade…

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