Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the country’s great orators, writers and thinkers, and his words continue to shape American views on equity, justice and moral purpose today, nearly a quarter century after the Black civil rights leader was fatally shot on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. While the racist assassin may have taken King’s life, it’s clear that no one will ever be able to silence the wisdom of the Baptist minister and Nobel Prize winner. We suspect that King, who would have been 94 on Jan. 15, might not have approved of all the ways in which his words are being used today, however. He is often quoted out of context by politicians on either side of the aisle seeking to make some point or another — most egregiously by Republican lawmakers who attempt to use King’s thoughts to justify restrictive policies (like ending affirmative action) or to demonstrate concern for racial unity while actively supporting racist members within their party.
We still have much to learn from the wisdom of Martin Luther King Jr.
January 16, 2023