Friday, February 23, 2024

What would Martin say?

| January 25, 2024 12:00 AM

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” (Martin Luther King). And so I write.

As we celebrate the legacy of MLK this month, reflection might be valuable. If he were alive today, what could he teach us about slavery and the Civil War? About Jim Crow laws, school segregation, and mass lynchings? Could he explain the Tulsa, Oklahoma massacre (1921) or the 100 massacres that occurred between the Civil War and the 1940s? (William Darity; Duke University) What about 14-year-old Emmett Till? These racist events are all old news, yet searing still.

Today, what would Martin say about Charlottesville, dog whistles and conspiracy theories? What about gerrymandering, redlining and the racial wealth gap? What would he think of book banning and whitewashing Black history? What would he say about Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter, or George Floyd? Or the January 6th insurrection?

Most importantly, how would Martin feel about the FBI and DHS identifying white supremacist violence as the “leading threat of domestic terrorism in the U.S.?” (Wikipedia). Where would he place our national moral compass? And ... how would he advise us to vote in the election this year?

As a teacher, I learn so much from children. So I am honored to quote a young student, Alaia Domenico, a first place winner of the Missoulian's MLK essay contest: “We have achieved so much as people ...Yet to see, we continue to make the same mistake ...We forget to love.”

– Nancy Teggeman


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