Did everybody enjoy their chicken and beer on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday? The life and times of one of America’s greatest black civil rights leaders has been reduced to parties, picnics and parades. But the struggle continues.
You know it and I know it. That’s why clowns masquerading as modern-day freedom-fighters love to sing We Shall Overcome every year at about this time.
If Negro clowns are not performing at MLK celebrations, your community’s closet Klansmen or devious politicians go to the stage, take the microphone and tell you how much they loved Martin Luther King.
Hmmm. King loved Malcolm X but the white folk featured at MLK events didn’t love Malcolm X. King loved Nat Turner, Denmark Vessey and Marcus Garvey but there will be no celebrations to recognize other freedom-fighters.
You can’t even show me a photo, or a drawing, of Denmark Vessey because the people you’re locking arms with and swaying from side to side at the MLK birthday program don’t even want you to see how Vessey looked.
Anyway, The Gantt Report honors and remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his “real” birth date and not on the day the devil tells you his birth should be celebrated on.
It’s 2013 and African Americans still can’t decide and determine which black leaders they will honor, we can’t decide which day we will honor them, we don’t decide whom we want on a commemoration program and we can’t decide if we want to sing Stand Up for your Rights or the Overcome songs.
Not only would Martin have been mad; he is probably turning over in his grave.
The people whom King would have been maddest about are black youth. Most, if not all, liberation and moral struggles involve youthful participants. Jesus was “young,” Stokely was young, Martin was young, Malcolm was young, Angela and Rosa were young, Mandela was young when he started fighting and protesting and now no one plans to attend MLK rallies but senior citizens because black youth would prefer to hear Little Wayne or Nicki Manaj at a King event than the present-day Toms and Jemimas sitting next to the modern-day overseers.
Well, I used to go to the Martin Luther King Jr. programs and celebrations. I respected Dr. King. My grandmother lived two doors up from his family house on Atlanta’s Auburn Avenue and I attended Grady High School with his daughter Yolanda King. However, most of the times I went to King celebrations was to report on the events as a journalist.
Now there is nothing there to cover. The recent MLK events don’t do anything to inspire and motivate black youth and adults. They don’t raise money to help the poor and disadvantaged and they don’t educate people who attend about the economics of a civil rights struggle in a capitalist society.
And, in the eyes of some, MLK events are not even black any more. They are just a once-a-year opportunity for white preachers, teachers and politicians to pretend they loved King in the past and pretend to love you now.
Don’t worry, Dr. King, you taught us not to be afraid to fight the oppressor and there are many of us who are never scared. The struggle does continue and we know it.
Lucius Gantt, a political consultant based in Tallahassee, is author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing. He may be reached at allworldconsultants.net