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Opinion: We Still Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s Aspirational Patriotism

When Sidney Poitier risked his life for civil rights

  When Sidney Poitier risked his life for civil rights The death of Sidney Poitier marks the passing of an icon whose art touched millions of lives across generations and whose work helped break down the structures of exclusion in Hollywood. But Poitier's legacy is pivotal for other reasons, Peniel Joseph writes. Though rightfully celebrated in his life and at his death for having achieved many racial firsts -- America's first Black movie star, matinee idol and Oscar winner for Best Actor -- PoitierThe death of Sidney Poitier marks the passing of an icon whose art touched millions of lives across generations and whose work helped break down the structures of exclusion in Hollywood. But Poitier's legacy is pivotal for other reasons.

As we mark this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, many people across the country are working with renewed fervor to whitewash considerations of racial bias from our laws and our classrooms, justifying their vandalism as a defense of America’s honor. Without question, today’s crusaders for post-racial Christian nationalism understand both God and country differently than King did. He was a minister of the Gospel and the leader of a social movement who held up a mirror to America and asked us to live up to our own professed values. For that he was feared and despised by the majority of white Southerners, who viewed themselves as good Christians and patriotic Americans.

MLK III says 'history will remember Sen. Sinema unkindly' after she rejects filibuster change

  MLK III says 'history will remember Sen. Sinema unkindly' after she rejects filibuster change Martin Luther King III reacted to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (D-Ariz.) Thursday announcement that she will not support a change to the Senate filibuster, writing in a statement that history will remember the Arizona Democrat "unkindly.""History will remember Senator Sinema unkindly. While Sen. Sinema remains stubborn in her 'optimism,' Black and Brown Americans are losing their right to vote," King III wrote in a statement shortly after Sinema's"History will remember Senator Sinema unkindly. While Sen. Sinema remains stubborn in her 'optimism,' Black and Brown Americans are losing their right to vote," King III wrote in a statement shortly after Sinema's floor speech regarding the filibuster.

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Conservatives of their ilk now adhere to Trumpism; they are far less openly racist than they were when King was alive, but still hostile to the idea that America needs anything other than a return to its glorious past. The idea of aspirational patriotism so central to King’s challenge to his country (most evident in his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963) is anathema to those for whom “American exceptionalism” means unique, God-given virtue, not unique, God-given ideals that are difficult but essential to reach. King’s challenge to Christians meant turning away from rather than embracing the secular idols of privilege and power, which value “so much winning” while despising “shithole countries” and the wretched refugees they hurl toward our sanctified borders.

Historians say an unsuccessful protest in Georgia helped Martin Luther King Jr. become a national leader

  Historians say an unsuccessful protest in Georgia helped Martin Luther King Jr. become a national leader The civil rights leader was stymied by a shrewd police chief. The campaign honed his tactics and inspired local Black people into further challenges.King led sit-ins, marches and jail hunger strikes – but seven months later, he would leave Albany frustrated and defeated, his failure to achieve immediate results considered a setback for the surging national civil rights movement.

Today the spiritual descendants of the complacent white middle-class ministers whom King excoriated in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” support battles against the restoration of voting rights, the teaching of honest American history about racism, and the redistribution of unearned wealth. And in their railing against the alleged excesses of “woke” ideology they have the gall to paint themselves as the true victims of racism. Even worse yet, many opponents of the fight for racial justice pretend to be disciples of King, pretending he would exult in a “color-blind” America in which the end of state-enforced segregation accomplished all of his goals.

Clearly, we still need reminders that America’s true greatness lies in its willingness to acknowledge and confront its own — our own — wickedness, and to repent before we lose our way entirely. Martin Luther King Jr. died on the brink of launching a Poor People’s Campaign aimed at bringing many thousands of people to Washington to peacefully demand that lawmakers come to grips with unequal conditions of life that desegregation could not address. I can barely imagine what he would have thought of many thousands of people coming to Washington in January of 2021 to violently overturn the democratic election of a president willing to take cautious steps down the path to racial justice and economic equality King championed over a half-century ago. He would have certainly been aggrieved to see these worshipers at the altar of Donald Trump carrying American flags and kneeling before crosses.

If Martin Luther King Jr. stood for anything, it was that true U.S. patriotism and true Christianity converge in a passion for equality, a firm belief in inalienable human dignity, and irrevocable mutual responsibility. His words and deeds represent an eternal rebuke to those who value no one beyond their own families, tribes, or nations, and pledge allegiance to the Prince of Peace with swords ready to draw blood at the slightest provocation. We need King’s teachings more than ever in this divided and dangerous America of 2022.

Florida Holidays Honoring Confederate Birthdays May Soon Be Erased .
A reintroduced bill aims to eliminate Robert E. Lee Day and Jefferson Davis Day from the state's holiday calendar.The Removing Memorializations of the Confederate States of America bill was written by Democratic state Senator Lauren Book and was officially introduced to the Senate earlier this month. The bill proposes the removal of three days formally recognized by the state legislature as holidays. Two of these holidays are birthdays, Robert E. Lee Day on January 19 and Jefferson Davis Day on June 3. The other day that the bill aims to remove is Confederate Memorial Day on April 26.

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