|Martin Luther King, struck by a rock in |
Marquette Park (Sun-Times file photo)
“There are more Negroes in Chicago than in the whole state of Mississippi,” King said.
On Martin Luther King Day 2022, it is doubly important to reflect on the history of race in this country, because that history is imperiled in a way both real and chilling to any truly patriotic American.
The Republican Party is at war with the past, part of its general campaign against any reality that reflects the party as it truly is: a totalitarian cult that has turned its back on democracy and freedom. That feels obligated to smudge any shiny surface: science is wrong, the press is fake.
The GOP premise is that any true telling of America’s racial past is some kind of plot to make their children feel bad, perhaps by cluing them in to what haters their parents really are. Talk about snowflakes ...
They don’t realize that any true telling of history is a challenge to anyone’s inflated sense of self worth. For instance, before we take too much pride in Martin Luther King, Chicago resident, we should understand how hard a challenge the city posed for King. The city’s Black population was far less promising material than King was used to molding.
“The Negroes of Chicago have a greater sense of powerlessness than I ever saw,” said Hosea WIlliams, King’s chief lieutenant. “They don’t participate in the government process because they are beaten down, psychologically. We are used to working with people who want to be free.”
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