In conjunction with millions of others I was a great supporter and admirer of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
King was one of the greatest motivators in history and he deserves a monument, but he would not have advocated for one. King lived and died for all of us to share in the American Dream. It is extremely distressing to me that a multitude of corporations, who have never adhered to King’s wishes as it related to the eradication of the multitude of problems that still deny Blacks complete access to becoming first-class citizens, now spend untold sums of money advertising how great King was. Remember that those same people once vilified King by labeling him as a radical, troublemaker, agitator, communist dupe and much worse. Oh yes, upon his death they then claimed he was true red-blooded American.
We as a people must stay on guard constantly so that those who have rewritten history will not be allowed to repeat that injustice. As great a person as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was we must not allow them to portray him as the only great Black leader of statue.
As a youngster in school I was always an avid reader so I was able to find historical information that the teachers for whatever reason failed to teach us. I remember that there were only two Blacks mentioned to any degree and they were Booker T. Washington and Dr. George Washington Carver, there was generally no mention of Benjamin Banneker.
The truth of the matter is that there have been an unbelievable number of Black men and women that were legendary on the battlefield of civil rights. I am mindful of people such as Marcus Garvey, A. Phillip Randolph, and a man, whom I believe was the most powerful of all, Congressman Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. He had real political power.
One established fact we must never forget is that all accomplishment in our lifetime, such as public accommodations, interstate traveling, education, Birmingham bus boycott, etc., were the result of the NAACP Legal Defense. The attorney was the unbelievably talented, brilliant, eloquent, capable Thurgood Marshall, who would become the first Black appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. On the local level there were Alma Illery, Frankie Pace, Alma Speed Fox, Rev. Leroy Patrick, Attorney Byrd Brown, Rev. Cornell Talley and last but definitely not least Mal Goode.
To those of you who say you were too young to participate in the early Civil Rights Movement, then ask yourself as you look around and witness the turmoil, deaths, and unemployment, are you currently involved?
Please remember Kingsley Association.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)