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You have no idea what Martin Luther King did. True or False?

Photo: wikimedia commons

This will be a very short diary. It will not contain any links or any scholarly references. It is about a very narrow topic, from a very personal, subjective perspective.

The topic at hand is what Martin Luther King actually did, what it was that he actually accomplished.  

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Malcolm X

Malcolm X is an American icon. He was born Malcolm Little, later to become arguably the most famous black, Muslim minister and a staunch human rights activist. Malcolm X was born into a family of activists, but was left orphaned as a result of his father’s murder and his mother’s subsequent mental challenges. 

Malcolm X spent several years in jail as a young adult after an arrest for burglary. During this time of self-reflection and learning, Malcolm X discovered Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm X was absorbed in learning about Muhammad’s beliefs that white society purposely and dutifully worked to limit the empowerment and social/political/economic success of African-American citizens.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” -- MLK Jr., "I Have a Dream"

Monday, January 20, 2014 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, commemorating what would have been the civil rights activist’s 85th birthday.

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Columnists

Acts of gaiety, acts of assimilation

Source: University of Michigan Press

Sexual liberation was a core principle of the social movements of the 1960s. The desire to emancipate desire was central to the belief that a new society and a new experience could be created. The United States' LGBTQ (lesbian/gay/bisexual/trans/queer) movements are often described as having begun with the Stonewall Revolt in Greenwich Village in New York City. The rebellion consisted of hundreds of gays resisting a police raid over the course of three days. In The Power of Identity, the sociologist Manuel Castells notes that there were 50 organizations for sexual minorities throughout the U.S.

| August 28, 2013

A dream deferred? Events mark 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Black America is hurting -- from the suppression of voting rights, to police violence to the lack of access to good jobs, education and housing -- and tens of thousands of people were determined to bring that message to Washington, D.C., on August 24.

Some 100,000 people in all gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial to be a part of a demonstration to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. The National Action Network called last Saturday's rally and march to honor the legacy of King and the civil rights movement -- but also to speak to the long way we have to go to fulfill that dream.

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MLK's vision of justice and equality alive in movements like Occupy and Idle No More

Martin Luther King, Jr. 1964 (Photo: Library of Congress)

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Most Canadians, even those with little knowledge of American history, will know King as a leader of the African-American civil rights movement, a Christian minister and a proponent of non-violent civil disobedience. And many will be acquainted with the public address with which King is most closely associated, the 'I Have a Dream' speech delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. in August 1963.

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Forget the polls: Idle No More can take heart from history of the civil rights movement

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 The Idle No More Indigenous rights movement is promising more direct action in 2013. However, a spectre is haunting the movement -- the spectre of fading public sympathy. The majority of Canadians (as well as some in the movement) believe that gaining recognition for Indigenous rights depends on effectively bolstering and sustaining public support.

Does it?

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Columnists

The rebellious life of Rosa Parks

Photo: Matt Lemmon/Flickr

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On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger in Montgomery, Ala., thus launching the modern-day civil-rights movement. Monday, Feb. 4, is the 100th anniversary of her birth. After she died at the age of 92 in 2005, much of the media described her as a tired seamstress, no troublemaker. But the media got it wrong. Rosa Parks was a first-class troublemaker.

Columnists

In the spirit of Dr. King, a call for refugee sanctuary

Photo: Revolt! Puppy/Flickr

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The annual mid-January Martin Luther King Day celebrations are generally a frustrating example of how the legacy of a difficult and troubled revolutionary can be co-opted into the image of an acceptable, bland hero who has freeways and monuments named after him.

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