Thanks for writing this, Hanif. I teach 11th grade U.S. history, and I’m always looking for new perspectives on MLK and his relationship to the Civil Rights Movement and the ongoing struggle for racial justice in America.
If you have a sec, I’d love your take on a couple follow-up questions I had for your article:
- When you say that MLK recognized the validity of violence, do you think he was also endorsing its effectiveness in achieving racial justice? My understanding is that King endorsed assertive non-violence as the only effective strategy for achieving social justice — at least, for Black Americans.
- You note that “ For those of certain skin colors, no protest can be peaceful enough.” To which skin color do you refer? To imply that all white people intend to stifle protest against racial injustice seems…well…racially unjust. Can you clarify?
No obligation to answer these, of course, but I want to come to my students as informed and thoughtful on this topic as possible. Thanks, and I really enjoyed your article.