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"When We Were Kings"

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,: Who Called Him A Dreamer?
by Tyrone Powers, Ph.D.

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines a dreamer as: One that dreams: One who lives in a world of fancy and imagination: One who has ideas or conceives projects regarded as impractical. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream, but he not a dreamer, he was a revolutionary. He had a vision of what America could be - but there is a difference between a vision and a dream. The Bible indicates that a people without a vision will perish. Dr. King had a vision. He was never blind to the facts of America. We were given the dreamer and denied the real King. Many of us bought the dreamer theory - hook, line and sinker. We used it to analyze, criticize and compare King to others. We never thought that maybe King was utilizing a strategy. Maybe there were two Kings - the public and the private King. But if we listen and study his words we will find a Dr. King within a Dr. King. We will find the twoness that W.E.B. Du Bois discussed in "The Souls Of Black Folk." We must be careful of the King that they gave us - because they have always given us false images of our Kings.

Buying into the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that they gave us have led us to think that King was "soft" on the race problem. This misinterpretation of Dr. King is a further indication that those who write history assume we won't read the first hand or primary sources. Research reveals that the private King and public King were different. "Never let your enemy into your soul." Those who refuse to reveal themselves completely are considered "Toms." We know that there are some "Sambos'" amongst us - Clarence Thomas being one of the most notables - but not all those who appear quiet are asleep. And sometimes the most vociferous among us are misleading us or leading us to slaughter. I exhort YOU to read and study Dr. King and all the Kings in Africa. Reexamine the myth about Blacks selling Blacks into slavery. Do your research-do the math. Otherwise, we have what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., identified as "A Zeal For God - Not According To Knowledge."

There are ample reasons for some to want us to discount Dr. King as less than a revolutionary. There are good reasons for some to want us to forget that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., sat down and listened and learned from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. There are good reasons for some to want us to forget that that Dr. King once said, "Maybe Malcolm X is right." There are excellent reasons for some to want us to forget that Thurgood Marshal opposed Dr. King because he thought Dr. King a "radical." There are deviously good reasons for the FBI's extensive Intelligence operations against Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the FBI's attempt to get King to kill himself. The FBI believed that King was a threat to White supremacy and the status quo. They felt strongly enough about King's revolutionary threat to plan, order and carry out his assassination. The FBI would not have given so much attention to a non-revolutionary. Think about it.

Bringing the great Dr. King into the realm of Nationalists and Revolutionaries will bridge the gap which many believe separate the different segments of conscious Blacks searching for change. Who have created this division? Is the real ideology and philosophies of Dr. King so different from those of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Black Panther Party, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan?

When Dr. King brought his inner self out and began to discuss publicly what he knew and stated privately his death was a certainty. He knew that by revealing his soul he was ending his existence. It was after these revelations that he stated, "It doesn't really matter now…." Unfortunately, many Blacks have separated themselves from anything revolutionary because they view unification with Black Nationalists as contrary to dream of King. I find that such a contradiction does not exist.

We must unite King's camp with Elijah Muhammad's vision. The goals are the same. Destroying the myths of meaningful division will bridge the perception of a gap between King, Garvey, Du Bois, Washington, Tubman, Bethune, Truth, Mitchell, Young, Davis, Drew, Douglass, Evers, Ellis, Angelou, Carver, Cleaver, Newton, Public Enemy, KRS 1, Diop, Gaye, Marley (One Love), Jackson, Malcolm X, Morrison, Mandela, Mayfield, Lumumba, Ali, Vernon Johns, Martin, Mosley, Davis, Nkrumah, Paige, Robinson, Robeson, Zulu, Shabazz, Carmichael, Toure, Scott-Heron, Coltrane, Black Starr, X-Clan, Fugees, Paris, Roots, Lauryn Hill, Till, Van Sertima, Clarke, Walker, Vesey, Turner, Wilson, Woodson, Wright, Baldwin, Assata, Farrakhan and many others. No more East Coast/West Coast - Black Panther v. U.S. - N.O.I. v. Lost/Found N.O.I.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was not simply a dreamer. He was a worker and a realist. He knew the truth. Read/Reread the man. Look at his words and his works. Open up your mind and your soul. Reevaluate.

Remember This King When They Give You The Dream:
Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Letter From The Birmingham Jail"

First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;' who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a 'more convenient season.' Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

In spite of my shattered dreams of the past, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause, and with deep moral concern, serve as the channel through which our just grievances would get to the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed. I have heard numerous religious leaders of the South call upon their worshippers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers say, 'follow this decree because integration is morally right and the Negro is your brother.' In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churches stand on the sideline and merely mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard so many ministers say, 'those are social issues with which the gospel has no real concern,' and I have watched so many churches commit themselves to a completely other-worldly religion which made a strange distinction between body and soul, the sacred and the secular. So here we are moving toward the exit of the twentieth century with a religious community largely adjusted to the status quo, standing as a tail-light behind other community agencies rather than a headlight leading men to higher levels of justice.

Copyright Tyrone Powers, Ph.D., 1999.
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