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'Dr. King's Legacy'

From Commonweal's April 19, 1968, editorial:

White America has had another chance thrust before it, the chance provided by the violent death of a just man. The Kerner report, acknowledged and then quickly brushed aside a few weeks ago, is still there with its plethora of useful recommendations. The money being spent on the Vietnamese war proves that money is available to do just about anything the country wants to do or thinks it has to do. Here and there, business and the churches -- the two great conservative institutions in American society -- have begun to move. Both are beginning to see that the money must be spent; but they don't yet see how much, sharing with Congress and state legislatures the belief that they can buy Negro justice and equality with spare change.

Read the whole thing right here (.pdf).

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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"For the Reverend Martin Luther King...sing!"

Lisa, Thanks for the memory.There was "spare change" for a few more years of war in Vietnam and some proxy wars and then two wars in the Middle East and enough drones to satisfy (so far) anti-terrorist assassination lust. Of course, Congress still hasn't actually raised that money, exactly. Meanwhile, having waited a little more than 40 years, our leadership class has begun to experiment with turning voting into an obstacle course for those who thought they nailed down the right to vote in 1965.

I held off on posting this, to be sure it didnt divert attention from the theme of the post. But maybe by now its okay to point out that Grant posted this on April 4, the same day two stories appeared in the N.Y. Times about the 100th anniversary of Ebbets Field, where the Brooklyn Dodgers played and where, in 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color line. When I saw the picture of Martin Luther King in this post, and the picture of Robinson that accompanied Dave Andersons N.Y. Times column, I was reminded of what Dave Zirin said in Sports Illustrated about the King-Robinson connection:

As a teenager in 1947 [King] watched with rapt attention as Robinson broke the racial barrier in major league baseball. A decade later, as Robinson's career was winding down with the Brooklyn Dodgers, [he] started to speak out for civil rights. Many people in the press and civil rights community discouraged [him] from taking this step, worried it would tarnish his image, and even argued that as an athlete Robinson had no vocal place in the struggle. But King, by then the movement's undisputed leader, said that Robinson had every right to speak because he was "... a pilgrim that walked in the lonesome byways toward the high road of Freedom. He was a sit-inner before sit-ins, a freedom rider before freedom rides."An emboldened Robinson toured the south to speak for civil rights and became the most requested speaker on the circuit: more requested than even Dr. King. He would end every speech the same way, saying, "If I had to choose tomorrow between the Baseball Hall of Fame and full citizenship for my people I would choose full citizenship time and again."

A freedom rider before freedom rides: I really love that.A film about Robinson will be released later this month. Zirin has some interesting comments about it in The Nation.

Sad to read about Vietnam when we repeated the same mistake in Iraq.

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