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Reply #15: What is interesting to note [View All]

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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-31-03 09:06 AM
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15. What is interesting to note
is that King was "tolerated" when his struggle was confined to civil rights. He didn't become truly "dangerous" until he became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and began advocating for economic justice, not just for blacks, but for all.

Although he was successful in the South, King's popularity began to wane when he spoke out against the Vietnam War. In May of 1966, against the wishes of even some of his close confidants, King began to denounce the conflict. Many thought that he should just stick to the issue of civil rights and leave foreign policy to others. However, feeling that it was an unjust war, King decided to speak out. After voicing his opinion on the war, nearly every major U.S. newspaper came out against him. As his popularity began to decrease, King launched the Poor People's Campaign that would transcend the wide chasm of race, culture, and religion. Tragically, he was fatally wounded by an assassin's bullet on April 4, 1968 while aiding Memphis sanitation workers in their fight for better working conditions.

But Martin Luther King, Jr. was driven by his convictions and he continued to fight not just for the betterment of black people, but for all people. In 1968 King was planning for another demonstration in Washington, D.C. This time it was to be the Poor People's March to Washington, which King hoped would focus the nation's attention on poverty in America. But a sanitation workers' strike in Memphis, Tennessee drew his attention, and he travelled to Memphis and delivered a speech on April 3, 1968 in support of the workers. The next evening, Martin Luther King, Jr. was felled by an assassin's bullet as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Martin Luther King, Jr. was dead. The nation was shocked by the violent end of its most prominent civil rights advocate.

The argument that he was assassinated when his rhetoric and movement began threatening the status quo is put forth here:
At the time of their assassinations, both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were embarking on a course in opposition to the capitalist system. It is clear from reading and listening to their final speeches that they had both evolved to similar conclusions of capitalism's role in the maintenance of racism. That is why they were "neutralized."

Unlike Malcolm X, who never got the opportunity to act upon his convictions, Martin Luther King was organizing a movement to obtain his stated goals when he was assassinated in Memphis. He was in Memphis to build "the coalition of an energized section of labor, Negroes, unemployed, and welfare recipients" in support of municipal garbage workers on strike.

Interesting discussion points
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