Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What Would MLK Be Saying Today?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What Would MLK Be Saying Today?

Article excerpt

With the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday coming up, it is time for Americans to reflect upon social justice.

What would this great man be saying and doing about the issues of the day?

It is worth considering this deep question.

One man has a good idea; King's lawyer and occasional speechwriter, Clarence Jones, is the author of the book, "What Would Martin Say?"

As Jones wrote, "I worked closely with Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King was a friend of mine. I think I understand what he would have to say, and what he would advise, on issues of the day. I think I knew his mind as well as anyone, and in fact as a draft speech writer and adviser, I did indeed often put words in his mouth."

Jones thinks King would maintain his political neutrality in order to maximize his influence rather than being taken for granted by the Democrats.

King would continue to press for action but doing it in a nonviolent way.

Jones suggests King would give up a divisive program like affirmative action for something greater.

"Martin would trade affirmative action heads up for the one thing that can, in today's world, make quotas, set-asides and special preferences utterly obsolete and also redundantly irrelevant: quality education for all young people. That means, particularly, a Manhattan Project type of commitment for rebuilding and restaffing urban schools," Jones wrote.

In the final analysis, though, one of King's most prophetic statements about America is this:

"When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair ... let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe ... a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."


MLK would say "stop judging people by the color of their skin and start judging them by the content of their character."

Jeanette Ghioto, Jacksonville


Martin Luther King Jr. is spinning in his grave. With all of the racial divisiveness and hatred going on now, the entire county is sitting on a powder keg.

Martha Jean Johnson, Orange Park


The ideals of racial equality seem as unattainable now as they were in the past. People of color struggle under poverty, mass incarceration, deficient health care, drug addiction, bad educational systems, racial profiling by police and welfare. Instead of creating stable environments for children to grow up in, all the programs created to help lift people out of poverty destroyed the family structure. Sadly only a small percentage of minorities have achieved the gains King dreamed of. If he were alive today, he would try to reignite the passion that we felt about social justice in the past. …

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