Misremembering Dr. King: Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Misremembering Dr. King: Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Misremembering Dr. King: Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Misremembering Dr. King: Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Synopsis

We all know the name. Martin Luther King Jr., the great American civil rights leader. But most people today know relatively little about King, the campaigner against militarism, materialism, and racism--what he called the "giant triplets." Jennifer J. Yanco takes steps to redress this imbalance. "My objective is to highlight the important aspects of Dr. King's work which have all but disappeared from popular memory, so that more of us can really 'see' King." After briefly telling the familiar story of King's civil rights campaigns and accomplishments, she considers the lesser-known concerns that are an essential part of his legacy. Yanco reminds us that King was a strong critic of militarism who argued that the United States should take the lead in promoting peaceful solutions rather than imposing its will through military might; that growing materialism and an ethos of greed was damaging the moral and spiritual health of the country; and that in a nation where racism continues unabated, white Americans need to educate themselves about racism and its history and take their part in the weighty task of dismantling it.

Excerpt

This book is a response to the collective amnesia about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the popular memory of Dr. King’s leadership of the civil rights movement and his advocacy of nonviolence as a tool for social change is accurate, but there is much more to the story. Dr. King posed many challenges to us as a society; the fact that we have been unwilling to deal with them has by no means made them go away. My hope in writing this book is to revive them.

For the past dozen years or so, I’ve been involved in working with other white people, mainly through adult education programs, to reeducate ourselves, to reach out to others, and to find effective ways to challenge racism in our communities. I’ve learned an enormous amount from the people who have taken the course and from my fellows who collectively run it. Aside from the fact that most of us are white, we are an amazingly diverse group. I myself am a baby boomer who came of age in the sixties, a white American who grew up in comfortable, if modest, circumstances. My father was the child of immigrants from the southern foothills of the Tatra Mountains in Eastern Europe; his parents left home as teenagers and never returned. My mother is from a long line of rural New Englanders. When I was just four, we packed up and moved from Boston to a small town in northwest Washington State. Like hundreds of thousands of towns across the country, it was a town where white people lived; “others” were not welcome. in summers, we used to make the long drive across the . . .

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