Stewart Acuff

Jan 15

Dr. King Believed in Racial & Economic Justice

New York Times columnist, Princeton economics professor and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman was on the Sunday tv pundit circuit and he was great. He accused Radical Rightwing Republicans of holding the United States and the world’s economy hostage to get their way in the coming debt ceiling showdown between Congressional Republicans whose popularity is less than used car salesmen and President Obama. Krugman, who has also railed against American inequality, said the President is absolutely right to refuse to negotiate with Radical Rightwing Republicans because “you don’t negotiate with terrorists.” Krugman has a great book called End This Depression Now!

The day we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s life and mourn his death is next Monday, January 21st, 2013. We had to fight Ronald Reagan and the Republicans so hard to get MLK a national holiday.

Dr. King is certainly one of our greatest American heroes and maybe our greatest American. He was under constant threat and despite his fame, greatness, and the Nobel Prize he never made any more money than an African-American Baptist preacher. There is no doubt that the Almighty and All-Loving God worked through Dr. King to lead a nonviolent revolution in America. Maybe you couldn’t see how fundamental that revolution was unless you grew up in the rural, still raw South and had your own life turned upside down by that revolution.

One of my best friends and mentors Rev. James Orange was in Dr. King’s inner circle. The reason Dr. King and Rev’s Abernathy and Jackson came out of their second floor rooms at the Lorraine Motel on that awful April 4 day in 1968 in downtown Memphis was because Rev. Orange was play wrestling in the parking lot with James Bevel. Rev. Orange, native of Birmingham, was the one who organized the young men and women to leave the schools and face down the dogs and fire hoses in Birmingham to galvanize America to support the revolution.

Dr. King was a trade unionist who not only believed in and struggled for racial justice but also economic justice. His soul is restless today because of our inequality.

May we honor Dr. King with a real struggle, even movement against inequality and for economic justice.

And may we all re-commit ourselves and our lives to stand against bigotry and intolerance and prejudice as reflected in the beautiful poem Billy With The Bad Eyes (CLICK to download) about a boy whose soul was too big for bigotry by Ingrid Anders.

Photo source: ChellieL on Flickr via Creative Commons License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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