I love the fact that Dr. King is recognized as a historically and socially influential figure. By perpetuating his image and his teachings, this holiday serves as one more cobblestone with which we can build the road to an inclusive as well as equitable national and global culture. Yet every year around this time, I find myself becoming a bit irritable.
I become irritable, because I also feel that the manner in which Dr. King is portrayed is misleading as well as misguided. By focusing almost entirely on his U. S. Civil Rights Movement work and negligibly on his organizing around poverty and speaking out against the Vietnam war, in my eyes, dilutes his message.
This desire to only embrace the currently non-controversial aspects of a great leader is rude. It disrespects the memory of the man and the leader. It also disrespects/underestimates the intelligence and resilience of the inheritors of his legacy, the global community.
If we in the U.S., truly wish to learn from Dr. King's example, we must embrace the whole of his message, that injustice anywhere endangers justice everywhere.
Happy Birthday Dr. King!