Born Michael King Jr., the man known to the world as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has continued to be an enigma. Both revered and reviled, he has been a force to be reckoned since he led the historic march in Selma, Ala., in 1965 and continues to be so even in death." Sexual degenerate" and "communist" are not terms often associated with this revered nonviolent leader who spearheaded the civil rights movement. Yet, Brett Reese, a member of the Greeley-Evans School District 6 Board of Education, is broadcasting just such an attack on Dr. King through his 104.7 FM pirate radio show. "Just a sexual degenerate, an America-hating communist and a criminal betrayer of even the interest of his own people," Reese reads during his radio broadcast. The attack was prompted by a letter from a listener, but Reese quickly jumped on the bandwagon. When asked if this was appropriate behavior for a school board member, Reese responds:
"It's ... you know what? That's a good question."
Reese says despite calls for his resignation, he will continue broadcasting the commentary every day up to the MLK holiday on Jan. 17. While parents are in an uproar over the insulting letter, the fact remains that it is the opinion of a listener and has every right to be publicized. Dr. King was not perfect, and I believe it diminishes his legacy to attempt to paint him as such. In 1989, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, a close friend of Dr. King's, published 'And the Walls Came Tumbling Down,' an autobiography in which he alleges plagiarism and womanizing on the part of the civil rights icon. Abernathy's assertions -- and other accounts of King's less-than-charitable views toward women -- are hotly disputed. Regardless of Dr. King's shortcomings his impact on racial relations and standards of racial equality cannot be dismantled by one person's opinion or even thousands. The world is different and better because of the visionary teachings of Dr. King. We have a tendency to elevate our leaders to hero status and usually are disappointed when they fall from that pedestal. Countless people have been called to service because of the transformative message of Dr. King, and that cannot be denied. Even while I oppose many of his views, he taught me that regardless of ideology, we should all be able to agree to disagree, and that is a message as effective in our homes as it is in our government. He gave us the tools to create our future in this country. What we have done, and continue to do with them, is our responsibility. He HeHE
A man doesn't have to be perfect to make a difference. So as Jan. 17 draws near, let us honor the man who forever changed the course of the United States. Let us honor the man who told us we didn't have to sit at the back of the bus,inspired a generation of people to rebuke racism and encouraged us to judge people on the "content of their character and not the content of their skin."
Dr. King's legacy is too vast to be placed in jeopardy by one listener's ignorant rant.
Sam read about Dr. King's "indiscretions" years ago in Taylor Branch's excellent three volume history of America during the King years, so Reese is digging up old news, There is a new book out written by Jay Adams on Gandhi's sex life and his unusual personal practices (which included, alongside his famed chastity, sleeping naked next to nubile, naked women to test his restraint)? Much of this material, according to Adams, was known during his lifetime, but was distorted or suppressed after his death during the process of elevating Gandhi into the "Father of the Nation" Was the Mahatma, in fact, as the pre-independence prime minister of the Indian state of Travancore called him, "a most dangerous, semi-repressed sex maniac"? Sam is just throwing it out there. After all, the King holiday is Monday!
Sam assumes that most of you do not have a problem with King having a jump off or with Gandhi sleeping with naked young girls. Do you have a problem with professors dating students? After all, they are adults!