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This Memorial Day, let us renew our commitment to work for peace. Dr. King stated, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Let us ask ourselves, “What would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say today?’” Let us remember Dr. King’s sermon. Let us reclaim our belief in the sanctity of human life. Let us turn swords into plowshares. Let us work for peace in our world.
In order to be an acceptable national hero, white America has had to sanitize Martin Luther King so that he was not perceived as a threat to anybody, simply as a religious leader filled with love and high principles. “The Radical King,” edited and introduced by Cornel West (Beacon Press 2015) reclaims what King really stood for and reminds us that the battle against white supremacy requires taking on a lot more than white racists.
Are we ready, finally, to have the conversation on race that President Bill Clinton suggested the United States needed? The Saint Andrew’s Cross, which is the Battle Flag of the Confederacy, now known as the Confederate Flag, symbolizes a fact of history that most White Southerners choose to deny: enslavement of Africans forcibly trafficked to this country and their systematic dehumanization while here – sentiments and aspects of which continue to this day.