'The continuing ''danger' of King.''
By Derrick Z. Jackson
Second of two parts
[Part One: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/
PALO ALTO, Calif.
Clayborne Carson said that one of the most profound
things in the early notes of the Rev. Martin Luther
King Jr. is how they foreshadow the last years of King.
"Most people think King grew into his opposition to the
Vietnam War, grew into global issues, grew, so to
speak, beyond race into speaking about other things,"
said Carson, founding director of the King Papers
Project at Stanford University. The notes for King's
early sermons, discovered in the last decade, will soon
be published in the sixth volume of the papers.
"He was a person struggling to be understood, yet was
so boxed in by his public image and public expectations
. . . What the writings make abundantly clear was that
now we can see that the King of 1968 was finally saying
what he believed in 1948."
Carson said that the early writings make ironic the
criticism King took for his anti-Vietnam speeches from
civil rights leaders fearful of losing the support of
the Johnson administration on domestic issues. "When
you add it up," Carson said, "it's as if King is
saying, 'You guys haven't been listening to me.' "
Reading a 1953 sermon called "The False God of
Nationalism," one can guess what King might think about
our unilateral invasion of Iraq, walls along the
Mexican border, and the politics of fear after 9/11.
"The watchword of this new religion is 'My country,
right or wrong,' " King wrote. ". . . In Germany, it
was preached by Hitler. In Italy, it was preached by
Mussolini. And in America it is being preached by the
McCarthy s and the Jenners, the advocators of white
supremacy, and the America first movements."
In a 1949 sermon called "Civilization's Greatest Need,"
King wrote, "Our material and intellectual advances
have outrun our moral progress." When one thinks of
last week's stampede, shooting, and stealing over
release of the latest PlayStation, King has a point. "I
tell you, it is not enough to have the power of
concentration," he wrote, "but worthy objectives upon
which to concentrate."
Zie ook: MARTIN LUTHER KING -
THE FATAL SHOT CAME FROM A DIFFERENT DIRECTION