MLK And The Easter Bunny

This year Easter fell on April 4th, the same day that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, which got me thinking… Considering all the lip service given the man 42 years after his death and the relatively little community service in support of his work, I wonder if we’re starting to confuse him with the Easter Bunny: a soft, cuddly, larger-than-life figure who exists only in our most idealistic dreams.

Well, of course, King did exist. But he was also vilified by many for his persistent non-violent struggle for justice. Exactly a year to the day before his murder, he spoke out against the Vietnam War in his famous “Beyond Vietnam” speech. In it, King called the US government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world”, which, as one might imagine, didn’t sit too well with the status quo. Life magazine described the speech as “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi” and the Washington Post said King “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.” Undeterred, he continued to speak truth to power until his life was cut short that fateful morning in Memphis. But don’t kid yourself — if King were still alive today, he would be just as despised for his views. Yet another cost of being one of the greatest Americans of all time.

King’s legacy should rightfully be honored, but when we forget his role as a political agitator we demean both him and his dogged pursuit of peace. This Easter season, forget the bunny. Instead, resurrect the true spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and summon the courage to stand up against injustice throughout the world. Here’s your chance.

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