Mumia Abu-Jamal: Remembering Martin King

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Black-US-soldiers-in-Long-Binh-Viet-Nam-In-Honor-of-Dr.-Martin-Luther-King-celebrate-MLK-Day-011571-15-yrs-before-fed-holiday-declared-by-Bettmann-web-300x169, Mumia Abu-Jamal: Remembering Martin King, News & Views
These Black soldiers in Long Binh, Viet Nam, know what side they’re on. Drafted into a war they oppose that would kill thousands of them, on Jan. 15, 1971, 15 years before Dr. King’s birthday was declared a national holiday, they honor Dr. King for literally giving his life to oppose the madness of a war that stole them away from the families and communities left helpless without them as fathers, breadwinners and protectors. – Photo: Bettmann

In the 20th century, few names, especially of Black people, ring louder than that of Martin Luther King.

His life, his dedication to the civil rights movement and his martyrdom in April 1968 made him a global icon of social justice.

Born in 1929, if he were not martyred, he would be enjoying his 90th year of life. But he was martyred and, too, he was considered an enemy of the state.


Because he didn’t end his struggle at the March on Washington, and his “I Have A Dream” speech wasn’t his last word on the subject.

His speech at Riverside Church in New York, where he denounced the Vietnam War, capitalism, militarism and racism, marked him as a man now walking the road of radicalism, albeit almost alone.

He was denounced by major media – like the Washington Post, for example – and betrayed by his so-called allies in the civil rights movement, like the NAACP.

And because the U.S. government and police considered him a communist, he was killed on April 4, 1968, a year to the day of his Riverside speech. He was on the side of the poor, the oppressed, the damned, the “wretched of the earth.” He was against materialism, greed and (remember?) capitalism.

If you want to remember him, remember him – but as he really was – an Enemy of the State.

© Copyright 2019 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at Mumia’s latest book is “Murder Incorporated: Empire, Genocide and Manifest Destiny, Book One: Dreaming of Empire” by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Stephen Vittoria and Chris Hedges, published by Prison Radio in 2018. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries. Send our brother some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932.

Editor’s note: Michelle Alexander, civil rights lawyer and advocate, legal scholar, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” and now a columnist for the New York Times, has just written a column that is shaking up the progressive world, headlined “Time to Break the Silence on Palestine” with the subhead, “Martin Luther King Jr. courageously spoke out about the Vietnam War. We must do the same when it comes to this grave injustice of our time.” Moved by the CNN firing of Marc Lamont Hill for speaking in support of Palestine at the UN and the dishonoring of Angela Davis by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute for her support of Palestine, Michelle Alexander deliberately emulates Dr. King by siding against Israel’s war on Palestinians as he sided with the Vietnamese.