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Misremembering Dr. King

Posted on 18 May 2014 by Barbara Beckwith (0)

Jennifer J. Yanco’s Misremembering Dr. King – Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is out from Indiana University Press. Don’t be scared off by her academic publisher: Yanco writes in clear, non-jargon language how “we” (she includes herself) so easily forget Dr. King’s core beliefs. It’s easy for us, she says, to remember Dr. King’s non-violent civil disobedience, which justice movements have used ever since. But it’s harder to remember his call for a guaranteed minimum income, his opposition to the Vietnam War, and his pro-union stance: he was assassinated while supporting a sanitation workers’ strike. She reminds us of “solutions” that backfired and kept power and money in white people’s hands: ending segregated schools led to the dismantling of Black-only schools, to thousands of Black teachers losing their jobs, to Black students being taught by white teachers who didn’t always want them to succeed. She also deals with what’s going on now: Trayvon Martin, the prison industrial complex, the Occupy movement, the fair pay struggles by fast food and other low wage workers. A great look back, and forward.

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