What did Martin Luther King do for African Americans?

I read this article in The Guardian yesterday and was immediately convinced that plenty of you would like to speak to the man who wrote it. He’s called Jonathan Farley and all being well he’s going to be on Monday’s show. (You might need to sign-up to The Guardian website I’m afraid.) 

We’ll post more details, but have a read. It’s titled ‘I have a nightmare’ and it’s fair to say he’s not so enthused about what the message Mr King promoted (and this is coming from a former Martin Luther King Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

13 Responses to “What did Martin Luther King do for African Americans?”

  1. 1 Mark
    January 25, 2008 at 16:54

    It’s not what Martin Luther King did for just African Americans but what he did for ALL Americans that is significant. He set the course that the mainstream of America has followed in the mostly (but not always) peaceful integration of African Americans and other minorities into the mainstream of society and the end of segregation and racial discrimination. America cannot yet claim that it has completed this task but no fair minded person who is familiar with the way American society was at the time Dr. King was actively working towards this goal and the way it is now can deny that America has made substantial progress in the right direction. Fifty years ago, America was run mostly by white Protestant males and all others were to one degree or another less than fully enfranchised in many ways. We now have many examples of people from backgrounds of all races and religions and both sexes who have achieved the highest levels in our society and it is no longer a rarity, it is becoming the norm. This not only recognizes their inalienable rights as human beings guaranteed in American law but makes the fullest use of human capital, the most valuable commodity we have. For this reason, Martin Luther King is not just an African American hero but a national hero and fully deserves the national holiday of commemoration we devote to him. No other society can boast an individual who has had such a profound impact, not even India’s Mahatma Ghandi when there are still 150 million untouchables in India three generations after his death. Nations with their own racial and ethnic problems which have not even recognized them let alone begun to solve them would do well to study his teachings and how those who used them in America successfully dealt with this difficult issue.

  2. January 25, 2008 at 17:00

    Jonathan Farley makes some good points, but doesn’t go far enough. As long as we are asked to hunt killers, let’s go after the people who killed Martin Luther King.

    In 1999 the King family won a Memphis jury verdict that King was killed by a conspiracy. There is ample evidence that the killing was the work of people in the CIA, the FBI and the Memphis police.

    Why did they do it? Because they were afraid that King would bring the Vietnam war to a halt and would flood Washington DC with thousands of black and white poor people.

    The War Party got its way. They are still in power with disastrous results.

  3. January 25, 2008 at 19:23


    Martin Luther King Jr. represented the need to change. I was around when King was assasinated in 1968. I could remember how some areas in the Cleveland and Akron Area were affected by disturbances. Here is an article I wrote about King that I wanted to share with my family at BBC WHYS.

  4. 4 Casandra in the USA
    January 26, 2008 at 05:20

    I found the article to be incredibly critical of two people with very different objectives. King wanted to be the champion for the black community. Obama wants to be the champion for an entire country. To Mr. Farley I must ask why did you assume that Barack is supposed to be a redeemer for the black community? Because he is Black and that is is ancestral duty? If so, where is your ancestral duty? Why does Barack have to “redeem” you? Why does Barack have to speak for one faction of people when he is aiming to speak for all factions.

    Also, to say that “…King built nothing, and taught us only how to take a beating.” is terribly narrow-minded. Is that really what you have learned from his legacy? It certainly seems that Mr. Farley has only learned to embrace the role of a victim. I implore him to speak for, vindicate, and redeem himself and this cannot be done as long as he holds tightly to the victim’s role.

  5. 5 Richard Beers, USA
    January 26, 2008 at 22:51

    As provocative as it may sound, a verdict proves only that in the absence of a defense, a jury will follow the instructions of the judge, voting for the plantiff, allowing the conspiracy theory to survive, the whole fiasco was bogus.

    [ Read more about it here : http://crimemagazine.com/05/martinlutherking,0612-5.htm ]

    Fact: Ray acted alone when he murdered Mr. King.

    To the point, when it was unpopular to speak out against the establishment, Martin Luther King not only walked the talk, he effected change where no one thought change could occur, by speaking out, rallying the people, and creating a movement towards equality. It has propelled African American equality, advancing citizenship, and leveling opportunities. Although some will remark that there is much more to overcome, by and far, African Americans are recognized, qualified, and represent a larger cross section of the successes of America on every front. Martin Luther King made this possible, for without his involvement, this country would still be clinging to segragation.

  6. 6 JC
    January 27, 2008 at 17:48

    Obama will win the Presidency. Will he serve a full term?

  7. 7 George USA
    January 28, 2008 at 13:52

    The process of categorizing Obama a “black candidate”, to narrow his message to voters, is furthered by likening him to MLK.

    No president can be elected who represents only a 13% segment of the population.

    The positive response of white voters to the Obama was in the primaries before SC was based on the man, not the race.

    If Obama can be placed in a narrow racial characterization, Hillary Clinton gets the nomination.

    This is the purpose of promoting MKK likeness and contrast.

  8. 8 Victoria
    October 2, 2008 at 15:24

    OBAMA ’08!!!!!!!!

  9. 10 ivandunn
    November 16, 2008 at 04:10

    thanks for the help i appreciate it this helped me with my project

  10. 11 gabgirl
    March 17, 2009 at 00:54

    Martin Luther King Jr.
    Well, I will start by introducing myself; my name is Martin Luther King Jr. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia on the 25th of janurary, 1929. My grandfather and my father were preachers and they were involved in the civil rights movement. They are one of the two people I admire very much. I graduated from college in 1948, my education was a success!
    Some people, like my good friend, Gaby here, say that it’s not what I did for African Americans only, but what I did for the entire nation. I taught them a good lesson. We now have many examples of people from backgrounds of all races and religions and both genders who have achieved the highest levels in our society and it is no longer a rarity, it is becoming the norm.

    yesterday was history, tomorrow is a mistory, the present is a gift

  11. 12 laquesha
    December 18, 2009 at 17:44

    thanks for supporting the negros the best way you could martin luther king.

  12. 13 mlk junior
    March 7, 2010 at 11:37

    thanks with the info will really help me with my speech

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