As America honoured the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr yesterday, the civil rights activist’s eldest son had some harsh truths to tell the nation.
Martin Luther King III said he thought his father would be ‘greatly disappointed’ in the state of the country today.
King said his father had ‘always believed in the people of our nation’ but that he believed he would have been ‘greatly disappointed in how we have chosen to conduct ourselves at this particular moment.’
Referencing the storming of the Capitol on January 6, King directly criticised the role of President Trump in sowing division in the country, telling CNN his father would have been ‘most particularly probably disappointed in the commander in chief, because the commander in chief is supposed to bring people together and not to bring people together to actually intercept your government.’
Martin Luther King Jr, whose activism was underpinned by the belief that love and unity were greater forces than division and hate, ‘understood we are a United States of America, not a divided state of America, and he would be telling us we must turn to each other, not turn on each other,’ his son said.
Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday celebrated each year since 1986, fell this year just two days before President-elect Joe Biden is set to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, and Martin Luther King III said he hoped that Biden and his administration would be able to bring the country together on the major issues facing the nation.
Martin Luther King III, himself a global human rights activist and the chairman of the Drum Major Institute, a non-profit group first established by a friend of his father’s in 1961, acknowledged that although America was facing a ‘very difficult moment,’ he believed under Biden ‘we will do better,’ adding ‘we are much better than the behaviour that we’ve seen exhibited over the last few days.’
King Jr’s youngest daughter, Bernice A. King, also spoke yesterday about her father’s legacy and its relevance to today’s America. In particular, she criticised Republicans who praised Dr King while at the same time pursuing divisive and unjust political agendas, saying, ‘Many who quote him now and evoke him to deter justice today would likely hate, and may already hate, the authentic King’.
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