In honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his dedication to equality and justice for all.
Dr. King is most often remembered by our public education system and the majority of our elected officials for his spirituality and leadership in the struggle for civil rights and voting rights for people of color in the United States. The activism of Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Rep. John Lewis, and other giants of this era laid the groundwork for social progress and made it possible for people of color to make headway in an unjust and unequal society, but the full extent of Dr. King’s vision is largely omitted from contemporary celebrations of his legacy.
It is true that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of deep faith and an unflinching champion for racial, social, and economic justice. He was also an outspoken critic of capitalism.
He identified the inextricable link between racism and capitalism, both past and present, and believed that we could not achieve the vision he articulated in his better-known speeches without leaving our existing economic system behind.
“We are saying that something is wrong … with capitalism…. There must be better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism. Call it what you may, call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., speech to staff, 1966
“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective – the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed matter: the guaranteed income… The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., The Three Evils of Society, 1967
As we cap the week-long celebration of Dr. King’s legacy in Aurora, let us honor his legacy by recommitting to fighting for racial and economic justice for all. A better world is possible.