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The Current Situation

Same old song and dance

This is how the mainstream portrayed Martin Luther King during his day:

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…and this editorial cartoon remains apt, even though more than five decades have passed:

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Recommended reading

  • Smithsonian Magazine: Even Though He Is Revered Today, MLK Was Widely Disliked by the American Public When He Was Killed
    “According to an early 1968 Harris Poll, the man whose half-century of martyrdom we celebrate this week [2018] died with a public disapproval rating of nearly 75 percent, a figure shocking in its own day and still striking even in today’s highly polarized political climate.”
  • TIME: Don’t Forget That Martin Luther King Jr. Was Once Denounced as an Extremist
    “The civil rights movement was deeply unpopular at the time. Most Americans thought it was going too far and movement activists were being too extreme. Some thought its goals were wrong; others that activists were going about it the wrong way—and most white Americans were happy with the status quo as it was. And so they criticized, monitored, demonized and at times criminalized those who challenged the way things were, making dissent very costly. Most modern tributes and understandings of the movement paper over the decades when activists like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and scores of their comrades were criticized by fellow citizens and targeted as ‘un-American,’ not just by Southern politicians but by the federal government.”

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