The following passage comes from Dr. Cornel West on his Instagram feed. His thoughts are resonating as painful realities that I haven't considered on this day we were taught to "celebrate". To truly honor MLK, I'm going to really think about what I am opening my eyes to, thanks to the honesty in the Dr. West's words below:
"Today we remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. However, he did predict, “I am nevertheless greatly saddened…that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling.” He was a radical man deeply hated and held in contempt, but has since been recasted as if he was a universally loved moderate. The killing of Martin Luther King Jr. was the ultimate result of the fusion of ugly white supremacist elites in the US government and citizenry and cowardly liberal careerists who feared King’s radical moves against empire, capitalism and white supremacy. Needless to say, his relentless condemnation of Trump’s quasi neo-fascist rule would be unequivocal – but not to be viewed as an excuse to downplay some of the repressive continuities of the multiple administrations that preceded. If King were alive today, his words and witness against drone strikes, invasions, occupations, police murders, caste in Asia, Roma oppression in Europe, as well as capitalist wealth inequality and poverty, would threaten most of those who now sing his praises. King’s radical legacy remains primarily among the awakening youth and militant citizens who choose to be extremists of love, justice, courage and freedom. King-like extremism is a threat to every status quo!"
These images are from my first teaching job at a high school on Chicago's Southside, back in 2012. You can click to enlarge them. My crew and so many radical humans took an abandoned, boarded-up house across the street from the school, and gave it a makeover. This is the west-facing side. Kind of a magical coincidence, considering I am reflecting on Dr. West's words on MLK.
For more on Harper High, and the urgent need to understand disparity in public education, check out my blog post, linked here.