Do the activists of the Black Lives Matter movement understand the motives and fight that Martin L. King Jr. stood for? Are they going about matters as he would like them? Though times have changed the fight is still much the same.
Martin Luther King’s words will be forever relevant in the future. The message he put in the letter he wrote when he was in jail in Birmingham, Alabama, is a good example. King led a nonviolent protest march that resulted in his arrest on April 12, 1963. Eight white clergymen from Birmingham appeared in the Birmingham News, challenging the pertinence of King’s “outside” involvement with the movement, questioning the necessity of demonstrations, and calling for “negotiation” instead of the practices King was a part of.
The main purpose of this letter was to defend his belief in having a nonviolent approach to racism and injustice. In the letter he states that he is the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and when the president’s presence is called upon by local churches, he and his colleagues will come to their aide. Another piece is that King saw the similarities in the work he was doing and the works of Bible prophets saying this; “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the eighth-century prophets left their little villages and carried their ‘thus saith the Lord’ far beyond the boundaries of their hometowns,” he was carrying his work beyond his hometown.
Another intriguing statement that he made is “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This is referring to his base being in Atlanta, and the issues that had unfolded in Birmingham. He explained, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
Another key point is when he discussed the four basic points of a non-violent campaign stated as follows: “IN ANY nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action. We have gone through all of these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying of the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community”.
As I sit here, I ask myself, do the activists of the Black Lives Matter movement understand the motives and fight that Martin L. King Jr. stood for? Are they going about matters as he would like them? Though times have changed the fight is still much the same.
So are MLK’s words relevant to today’s struggle for justice? Yes, I believe that his words are relevant to today because we are still fighting injustice. We see this displayed in the black lives matter movement. They are fighting to overcome the injustice of today, Ferguson is the Birmingham of today, citizens fighting for equality.
Another point I would like to make is the differences in the movement. The Civil Rights movement of the 60s was about getting equality and the elimination of segregation/ racial inequality. Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter Movement are about police brutality and racial inequality. But their similarities are greater than their differences.