Every year, when Dr. King’s “weekend” comes around I tend to reflect on his life, re-listen to some of his speeches, thank God for the opportunities I have that he, one way or another, had a hand in, and ultimately shed a year or two, especially whenever I speak to my mother about that particular time in history.
Whether you tend to fall on the Malcolm side of the coin, or the Martin side (I tend to straddle the line) there is an interesting point I heard recently that really illuminated a nuance of Martin’s strategy that I hadn’t really thought about.
The point came from Stokley Carmichael, in the INCREDIBLE documentary, Black Power Mixtape. The young Stokley, full of zeal and passion told the interviewer, that he respected Martin and admired Martin, but due to the fact that he was much younger than the civil rights leader, he didn’t have the patience for non-violence. But he continues by saying what Martin’s pacifist ideals and non-violent demonstrations did, was prove how outrageous, how despicable, how truly disgusting hatred is. To turn the hoses on a peaceful crowd. To sick the dogs on women and children, singing hymns in the street. To kill a man, for trying to bring light, peace, truth, and equality to the world.
With Dr. King, the hatred, televised, reported, broadcasted around the world, was unprovoked and unanswered. The victim and criminal were both exposed, and made plain. For that, as Stokley said,I truly appreciate him.
If you have Netflix, checkout Black Power Mixtape over this weekend. No matter what race you are, or if you’re even American. This is your history.