Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Happy Birthday, Dr. King

4 months ago 29

We begin today, the 94th birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with Hajar Yazdiha writing for The Conversation about conservative revisionism of Dr. King’s words and life work.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a sanitized version of King was part of a conservative political strategy for swaying white moderates to support President Ronald Reagan’s reelection by making King’s birthday a national holiday.

Even after Reagan finally signed the King holiday into law in 1983, he would write letters of assurance to angry political allies that only a selective version of King would be commemorated.

That version was free of not only the racial politics that shaped the civil rights movement but also of the vision of systemic change that King envisioned. In addition, Reagan’s version left out the views that King held against the Vietnam War.

Instead, the GOP’s sanitized version only comprises King’s vision of a colorblind society – at the expense of the deep, systemic change that King believed was needed to achieve a society in which character was more important than race.

After reading those links embedded in the excerpt...fu*k Ronald Reagan.

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