What did Martin Luther King do for black people?

**UPDATE: Professor Farley has been through all of your comments and replied with a fresh post here.**

Hi there – Chloe here.

The black vote has been fiercely fought over by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the recent US primary’s. Obama secured almost 80 per cent of African American Democrat votes to win in South Carolina on Saturday, as he continues to talk about the legacy of Martin Luther King to the call for change.

But did the late Dr King and the civil rights movement fail African Americans? You may remember Ros mentioned this story in Friday’s email. An article by a former Martin Luther King Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was published in the Guardian newspaper here with the title ” I Have a Nightmare”. Professor Jonathan Farley argues that the “aims and the character of the civil rights movement were flawed”. He says “it is time we all admitted our mistake. A black King did not redeem us. And neither will a black president.”

One of the central criticisms made by Professor Farley is that the approach of the civil rights movement was wrong, “the movement should never have been about integration. It should have been about demanding the respect that is due to free human beings…….What’s the value in begging for the right to spend money in a store owned by a racist who would rather kill you than serve you?”

Is he right? Was King’s non- violent approach the way to achieve equal rights? Farley says not, “Despite our love affair with King, African-Americans are not a non-violent people. Black Americans kill 5,000 other black people every year. (Instead of urging us to love our enemies, King should have taught us to love ourselves.)”

What did King achieve? Have equal rights been achieved? What more needs to be done?

Speak to you later.

108 Responses to “What did Martin Luther King do for black people?”

  1. 1 John D. Anthony
    January 28, 2008 at 14:24

    King knew something that professor Farley apparently does not ~ You can’t legislate morality. All King did was demand the right to be heard and be taken seriously as a political force and he achieved it.
    When I was a child in the 50’s the notion that a presidential candidate would “court the black vote” was ridiculous. There were no laws about anti-discrimination in hiring or housing or access to social services. The mere fact that black Americans have come this far just in my generation is a testimony to the truth of King’s vision.
    If King had promoted violence he would never have lived long enough to meet with Lyndon Johnson and convince him of the need to pass civil rights legislation. He was a minister who understood that attitudes and prejudices are matters of the heart and can take generations to change and that that change has to be made on both sides.
    Professor Farley needs to stop whining and ask himself if HE would have been willing to die just to begin the process of that change.

    John in Salem

  2. 2 Brett
    January 28, 2008 at 15:01

    What needs to be done?
    Whites need to stop harboring ignorant generational racist beliefs towards blacks, blacks need to stop harboring ignorant resentful racist beliefs towards whites. Each side is and can be equally as racist.

    Equal rights has not been achieved.

    Dr. King formed a cohesive movement of every race against oppression, a movement which still exists in some part today.

    What more needs to be done? Plenty! Lets start with pro-active solutions and ideas instead of pointing fingers and blame. Once thats complete, EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION!

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  3. January 28, 2008 at 15:02

    Farley’s an idiot. Any movement that was non-violent at the time would have been certain suicide.

  4. January 28, 2008 at 15:26

    Yet another premature WHYS question. “Did MLK fail us?” (The other was if the women’s movement failed us. Oy.) MLK didn’t fail anybody. He started a movement that people to this day resist — including this idiot you’re quoting who thinks you can change people’s minds by just telling them they’re wrong. Integration let black people SHOW them they’re wrong, giving them equal rights and treatment even if white people didn’t agree. If it weren’t for MLK we’d be much worse off. We’re talking about fighting centuries of white Christian prejudice, supported by the Old Testament story of Cain and Abel — do you know how many times I heard growing up that black people had “the mark of Cain” the murderer? That being black was the sign of the devil? That horrifically blemished thinking came to us from (hello!) Britain, France and other Caucasian countries that had supported the slave trade using equally disturbing sentiments along with unquenchable greed. Do you really think that a scant few decades can eradicate such deeply rooted prejudice? Thanks to MLK, we’re on our way to healing the damage of racism.

    Also, I don’t look at Obama as a white president or a black president — I look at him as a president of conviction, straight talk and hope. If he is elected, that will show just how much good MLK did accomplish.

  5. 5 marksandell
    January 28, 2008 at 15:43

    Maria, just to say it was Prof Farley who asked the question , not us. because his comments have been much blogged about and commented on, we invited him on to the programme so that you and others could tell him what you think.
    all best

  6. 6 Stephan
    January 28, 2008 at 16:02

    Nicely stated Johnathan. MLK was a great man and you can’t judge what he did by our failure as a society. I think one of the biggest problems we have now is people don’t talk about racism honestly……we are so concerned about political correctness that we stifle any meaningful conversation before it can take place. We are quick to judge and slow to understand.

  7. 7 Virginia in Portland, OR
    January 28, 2008 at 16:13

    Martin Luther King, Jr. was an exceptional leader and he happened to espouse non-violence as a means of (political) action. He was not wrong nor was the movement he led “flawed” as Professor Farley would have it.

    To be sure nothing much has changed, but change is slow. And with Senator Obama some more change is possible. Much more to my white mind than with Senator Clinton. If you follow school integration and segregation in BBC news articles, it appears that many schools are re-segregating. And this seems to be linked with income as much as race.

    And even though not much has changed, a lot has changed. Just not what was envisioned as quoted by Professor Farley.

  8. 8 charis
    January 28, 2008 at 16:53

    for me, it’s more like what did Martin Luther King acheieve for the peoples of the world?
    i think it is parochial in the extreme and insulting at the least to narrow what this man did to “Black people”.
    because of MLK, civilization has been turned on it’s head and black people are not the only people whio have benefitted. he changed the way humanity sees itself or how we see one another. the word “tolerance” has taken on a new meaning from gay rights to immigration to equal employment opportunity to human rights, to the rights of minorities of all kinds….he changed the way the western “white” world sees not only black people, but how they see the chinese, the indian, the pakistani, the brazilian, the japanese, the aborigine, the mexican, the handicapped, the gay, the aged, the oppressed.
    it is sad, therefore, that anyone no matter how placed will narrow down his achieve to “black people”.
    you may say that i’m attributing too much to the man, but i’ll like anyone to challenge the veracity of my statements.

    for black people anyways, as far as i am concerned, he changed the way “white” people see us in a way that Mandela has not and never will. he was the freedom fighter that Mandela has refused to be and can not be.
    where Mandela chose to institute a “truth and reconciliation committee” instead of justice letting the people of soweto die in vain, letting steve biko die in vain..
    where mandela chose to cuddle up to the west…

    anyway, i’m sorry this is not about mandela….

    Martin Luther King is the greatest black man ever to have lived….yet.


  9. 9 Mohammed Ali
    January 28, 2008 at 16:54

    To say that Martin Luther King Jr. did not redeemeed the African Americans is an act of blamesphemy and deserve fullest condemnation. This Prof. Farley is a destroyer and does not deserve any place among civilize people.

  10. 10 Marsha Adams
    January 28, 2008 at 17:10

    I only hope that my comments are taken as they are ment, the honest opinion of someone who did not grow up in a community struggling with racism as the daily theme of human interaction.

    I say, all of us should quit defining ourselfs as this color or that, this religion or that, this gender or that …and work for individual rights. We are humans before we are any of those other discriptors and for that reason alone we should be treated with dignity and respect. The laws should speak of individual rights. Notice I did not say human rights ,,, because any time a rights law groups the individual as a collective theme, then there are ways to say something is being done a certain way because it best serves the group all the while walking all over many of the individuals …. so I advocate for individual rights regardless of age, race, religion, gender, sexual preferences, nationality or any other factor that just serves to separate and segregate.

  11. January 28, 2008 at 17:29

    America is such a divided country. Racism is still prevalent, only that it’s deeply hidden in people’s hearts. Many whites still believe blacks can’t perform. It’s not surprising that John Watson recently averred blacks are inferior to whites in terms of intelligence. This is a prejudice many whites have against the African-Americans.

    African-Americans, on the other hand, still harbor age-old grudges of slavery. To them, even applying for a job in a white-owned business means indignation. Blacks have refused to attend school because they argue such an effort is fruitless for whites will never give them good jobs. Effectively, they have been excluded from jobs that require higher-level skills. It’s not surprising that most African-Americans work in the hospitality industry washing dishes, cooking and making beds. America has huge populations of African-American men and women who’re unemployed and angry roaming in the streets. They engage in crimes and sire children outside the wedlock.

    Having said this, my thesis is that the African-American community has refused to take advantage of the many opportunities that are there in the U.S. The Federal government has done a lot to ensure that minorities are protected from discrimination in the work place and institutions of higher education. Dr. King’s dream will only be realized if African-Americans took own initiative to make their life better. I am yet to understand why African immigrants come to the U.S. and prosper despite such factors as language barriers and race.

  12. 12 George USA
    January 28, 2008 at 17:42

    The point of likening Obama to MLK is to change him from a candidate to a black candidate.

    The Clinton Campaign is fighting hard to make Obama a black candidate, rather than a candidate who happens to be black.

    A black candidate cannot be nominated, only 13% of the USA is black.

    A candidate who appeals to all Americans and happens to be black can get the nomination.

    This MLK material is for the Clinton campaign.

  13. January 28, 2008 at 17:43

    Dr. King taught us all that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The problem is that after his death, seeing the light was all we settled for. We didn’t realize that we could actually reach the light and bath in it’s warmth. Professor Farley makes a good point, about loving oneself and the sharing of cultures to combat the rising ignorance that has plagued our society then and now.


  14. January 28, 2008 at 18:02

    Mr. Farley writes “But the movement should never have been about integration.”

    I used to think that too, but there is no way we Black people would have been seen as equals if we would not have been fully integrated into society. Integration was the first step, and to that we are indebted heavily to Dr. King and the movement. Anyone who doesn’t believe so, is in denial.

    And all those goals that he said the movement should have been about such as demanding respect, ending violence, WERE goals of the civil rights. In fact, I think Mr. Farley, needs to revisit the Civil Rights Movement in a course at a local college. I am really amazed by the ingratudte of someone who thinks “we should have done it this way”. Easy for you to say!

    In fact, I now nominate Mr Johnathan Farley, to position as our new Black leader and entreat him to fix all, not some but ALL, issues facing black people in 5 years.

    Good luck!

  15. January 28, 2008 at 18:03

    The success/ failure of the civil rights movement is a matter of relative perspective. If you are a poor black person living in the projects acrossed the land, you can say it has failed you. If you are of any wealth bracket and tried to get a taxi or other service types in many places crossed the country, you can say it failed. Heck, some may say that it has not only failed the poor black people, but has succeeded in pulling many lower classed white people into economic slavery.

    But if you step back, look at the grand scheme of things. It has only been 150 years since the first shots of the American Civil war were fired. No other place in history have two distinct groups made a cultural merge and level of tolerance and acceptance so fast. The jews and the Muslims have had a few thousand years to get things worked out and they can’t. and their cultural and physical difference are way closer then the European descendant American white and the African descendant of a slave black.

  16. January 28, 2008 at 18:07

    Hi Chloe and Mark and all the amazing guys at WHYS ! I do have a question for your guest : In the 21st century, do you think that there’s still a place in our very realistic World for knights, heros, or men of dreams ?! I have a great deal of love and admiration in my heart for Barack Obama, but in my opinion he’s more like a fascinating dream or a noble knight rather than being a real man…. Please my good friends in the US answer me : Can a MAN OF A DREAM become your president ?! With my love ! Yours, Lubna !

  17. 17 VictorK
    January 28, 2008 at 18:12

    I don’t think the question posed is the right one. King and the civil rights movement did their best and, as Mrs Clinton correctly pointed out, with the help of a sympathetic President and a sympathetic Congress, secured genuine – but not critical – political improvements for African Americans. The real issue is what has happened in the intervening 40 years, particularly the degeneration of the civil rights movement into the worst kind of force for leftism, state-subsidy and racial political correctness.

    From the first the civil rights movement pursued the wrong objective: political power, instead of economic opportunity. America’s most successful ethnic groups have owed their progress not to politics but to economics: from partiicpation in the labour market to ownership of businesses. Studies by scholars like Thomas Sowell show, incontestably, that for decades prior to the civil rights movement African-Americans were making progress on a variety of economic fronts. Paradoxically the civil rights movement, and the leftist ideology that underlay it, sabotaged much of that progress. De-segregation did indeed have a negative impact on black entrepeneurship, while the Great Society programmes of the sixties, and succeeding welfare initiatives, had two devastating consequences: the first was to disintegrate the black family in a way that not even slavery had managed to do, and the second was to create a culture of dependency that made it diificult, or unnecessary, for a large proportion of African-Americans to acquire the skills needed to succeed in a modern society. Few people appreciate that 70 or so years ago the rate of family breakdown amongst African-Americans was comparable to what it is now for white Americans. The collapse of the balck family – with illegitmacy, female headed households, and teenagers having children by other teenagers – is not, as fantasists claim, a consequence of ‘the days of slavery’, but something that post-dates and derives from the on-going liberal programmes of the sixties.

    Just as significant has been the degeneration of the civil rights movement from one that demanded equality under the law to one that now demands special treatment for government-favoured minorities. Affirmative action – however tortuously rationalised – is simply incompatible with King’s dream of a colour-blind society. It is every bit as racist as the Jim Crow that the original civil rights movement challenged. And the whole drift of the civil rights movement, by emphasising what could be effected through government and by legislation, has been to relieve the individual of responsibility for himself and his family and to encourage them to be dependents of the state. That African-Americans of all American groups are probably the least prepared for life in 21st century America is the natural consequence of a philosophy that expects government to do all and merit to do nothing.

    The cult of irresponsibility that has come to characterise today’s African-American leadership has had another consequence that is damaging for their constituency. Practically all failings amongst African-Americans are attributed to anybody but themselves. And when the failings arise out of a pathological sub-culture (e.g. rap), or an excessive tolerance for criminality, or from simple irresponsibility, then claiming that it’s the product of ‘racism,’ ‘oppression’ or even ‘slavery’ (which, amazingly, still happens) guarantees the problem in question a long lease of life. African-American rates of criminality are grotesquely high, and the main victims of this are other African-Americans. On average 15,000 to 20,000 Americans are murdered annually. Roughly half of these are African-Americans. Over the last 30 years more African-Americans have been murdered than American troops died in Vietnam. Yet law and order is never an issue for African-Americans, who are notorious for their hostility to the police and tendency, when the police are involved in a controversy with an alleged or known criminal, to side wholeheartedly with the criminal. Between 1900 and 1950 5,000 African-Americans are known to have been lynched across the USA. Yet that cumulative figure for half a century doesn’t even begin to approach the number of African-americans who are murdered ANNUALLY. Despite this it would be easier to find evidence of present-day African-American leaders denouncing the now historic injustice of lynching than it would be to find any of them making an issue of the racially skewed homicide statistics that continue to disproportionately impact on the people they are supposed to represent. Or take the example of Detroit. this was once a rich, well-run and flourishing major American city. In the past 50 years it was acquired a heavy African-American majority. It is now notorious for the mismanagement of its African-American political administrators, a mismanagement thaqt it shares with many other cities that are or have been run by African-Americans (such as Washington DC under the appalling drug-fiend Mayor Barry, or New Orleans). But instead of addressing the issue of maldministered black cities the African-American leadership have made it virtually taboo for the issue to be discussed in the political mainstream

    None of these developments can be blamed on Martin Luther King (though many of them existed in embryo in the movement that he led). They all fall to his successors as leaders of African-Americans, an assortment of hustlers, charlatans and racial demagogues that includes Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. But the root causes of the many African-American failures in my view have been the mistaken emphasis on achieving progress via political machinery instead of economic success, the racialisation of guilt and the tactical blackmail of white Americans by black, and the permanent sense of self-righteous victimhood that has caused African-Americans to turn a critical eye on everything and everyone but themselves.

  18. 18 isabel, San Francisco, CA
    January 28, 2008 at 18:13

    Barack Obama is spending more time reaching out to white conservative than he is to black progressives. Forget poor blacks. They don’t even count in U.S. elections.

    As far as MLK, of course he made a difference. The question you should be asking is, does non-violence work?

  19. 19 Gene in Chicago
    January 28, 2008 at 18:21

    As important as Dr King was (and still is) to the civil rights movement, civil rights is not just one idea and one goal. The goals are numerous and ever-changing. Neither Dr King, Barrack Obama nor any one person define or direct the movement.

  20. January 28, 2008 at 18:22

    What they achieve can only be done through non violence. I wish CIC Bush, Hamas and Al Qaeda realised that’. Whatever they have not achieve is because they forgotten. Like US forgotten the Vietnam war. Peter -Singapore

  21. January 28, 2008 at 18:23

    As a mixed Black, Native American, Jewish and disabled man in my 50’s, I feel Martin Luther King jr. woke up America to the sub-human treatment Black American and African Americans endured in this country. Martin Luther King did not fail in his effort to get all of us including some white American to the “Promise Land”. I feel it was and is his fellow civil rights leaders that failed him. When they hag the opportunity to pick up the sword and lead the charge, they ran the other way. Most broke off into individual projects which promoted their own causes. When attacks came they hide behind the fact they were leaders in the civil rights movement of Dr. Martin Luther King jr. The King Center is falling apart, the holiday is not taken seriously by most states, people died in New Orleans and people still live way below the poverty level. Barack Obama is not a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But his brown skin in the race for President is a small testament to all of our struggle to get to the “Promised Land”.

  22. January 28, 2008 at 18:23

    Firstly, i will congratulate Barrack Obama.

    If Marthin Luther King fail at all, winning psychological freedom for anyone in black skin is the best gift.
    (He said he had a dream that one day, the children of the slaves and the children of the slaves owner will
    eat together in a table) with Obama and co, the dream has come true.
    Barack Obama win or loose, making decision to contest for presidency in the US in a big point
    and has open the brain of any right thinking human being that Marthin Luther King is a winner.

    I imagine, what life would have been if God did not bless us with someone like King, with what we are
    still going through in this world today just because we’re black.
    we have to remember, Marthin Luther King fought not for only the blacks in America, but for all low income
    and the poor of the poorest in the means of plenty.
    The role of the Jehwish in American economic today is part of the grade A in the score card of M.L Kings.
    The spirit of Kings live for ever and abode in anyone that share the skin with me.

    Daniel Lawal from China.

  23. 23 Josh in Portland
    January 28, 2008 at 18:24

    The problem with what Mr. Farley is advocating is that segregation is what increases and builds hostilities, and increases the violence of those like Nathan Bedford Forrest by reinforcing the “otherness” factor.

    Additionally, isolating blacks into a cloister would have done more to secure their economic disadvantagement than anything else imaginable.

    What Mr. Farley is saying to me rings of the letter written by “eight clergy” to Dr. King about his campaigns while he was serving time in Birmingham Jail, and to which he wrote a nuanced and poignant response that every history student has to read because it explains everything he and the civil rights movement was about, and that Mr. Farley seems not to understand.

  24. January 28, 2008 at 18:25

    Dear World have your say,
    I think that Martin Luther King gave the African Americans a sense of self worth,
    Linda from France

  25. January 28, 2008 at 18:26

    …and not in the United States? Are there plans to get this into a US newspaper of repute and wide circulation, or is that out of the question? Or has Dr. Farley already had his article rejected? And if so, why?

    Please pose this question to your guest, as I think his answer would enlighten us on the state of race relations and the willingness to tackle/debate thorny subjects in the United States today.

    Thank you,

    Thomas Marzahl
    Berlin, Germany

  26. January 28, 2008 at 18:28

    Your Dr. Farley is sorely mistaken about why “blacks and whites” should sit together in schools – integration was not about learning, but about being in a shared space, and being physically with each other – integration was about breaking down societal walls. Integration was about getting us to see each other as humans – and it failed to accomplish its goals because our governments and people like your guests are ready to pull the rug before it even had a chance to grow – sadly due to that uniquely US-American reason: Money.

    I grew up in a woefully – and indadvertently – segregated suburb of DC, at a very white high school. It is only today that I have learned to make friends of different origins, whose friendships extend beyond their so-called race.

    Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Sincerely,
    Stafford Hemmer

    Klartext German > English Translation Services
    Secretary, Board of Directors, Northern California
    Translators Association

  27. January 28, 2008 at 18:29

    Professor Farley should stick to mathematics. In the field of civil rights, judging from the first words he has spoken on your programme the man is evidently a crank and a provocateur. I can’t imagine why you would give him a voice on such an important subject.

    Larry Moffett
    Brussels, Belgium

  28. 28 steve
    January 28, 2008 at 18:30

    isabel, I think politicans cater to people who are likely to vote.

  29. 29 Bruce
    January 28, 2008 at 18:34

    No one can put value to the civil rights movement of the valor necessary for MLK to put himself out front as the leader of the movement regardless of its nonviolent nature. Dr. Farley has shown an utter ignorance of the atmosphere at the time. There are numerous examples of people of color murdered and maimed for speaking out even as much as he does today. He might have been attacked at that time as a person pushing violence despite his intentions. There are many opportunities that we have. Blacks in America can’t fault MLK for failing to continue to work for his dream by settleng for less.

  30. 30 Cash
    January 28, 2008 at 18:35

    MLK was a central figure in the civil rights movement, which isn’t over yet. His advocacy of non violence was admirable and he remains a moral compass for the nation and the world.

    The notion of compensation is ridiculous and impracticable. Who would pay whom and for what? Are mixed race folks to pay themselves? My ancestors were abolitionists, not slave owners, and others of them arrived after emancipation.

    We are not responsible for the sins of our fathers. Its time to get past black rage and white guilt and mature as a society.

  31. 31 Stephanie Tam
    January 28, 2008 at 18:37

    How can you say that desegregation was not a worthy cause? Yes, economic progress is incredibly important, but so is respect. If you keep people segregated for no other reason than the color of their skin, and your own unreasonable fears, then African Americans will never be able to achieve the respect they minimally deserve as human beings. You will maintain an ignorant and consequentially hostile white America where African Americans will never really feel safe (an issue which we still are faced with today). How do you even perceive it possible to achieve economic progress without desegregation?

  32. 32 James in LA
    January 28, 2008 at 18:39

    Who would have predicted that South Africa would transition to majority rule without a massive bloodbath? Is violence, like our grandmothers sometimes seem to imply, the inevitable price of purification? The God of the Bible demands a blood sacrifice. Do we?

  33. 33 Bryan in San Francisco
    January 28, 2008 at 18:39

    There are heaps of professors in America with wacky ideas under the mantra of “publish or die.” The Guardian UK and WHYS have given voice to one. Oh, and he’s a mathematician. Not an historian.

  34. 34 Stephanie Tam
    January 28, 2008 at 18:39

    No Need for Desegregation?

    How can you say that desegregation was not a worthy cause? Yes, economic progress is incredibly important, but so is respect. If you keep people segregated for no other reason than the color of their skin, and your own unreasonable fears, then African Americans will never be able to achieve the respect they minimally deserve as human beings. You will maintain an ignorant and consequentially hostile white America where African Americans will never really feel safe (an issue which we still are faced with today). How do you even perceive it possible to achieve economic progress without desegregation?

  35. 35 Bruce
    January 28, 2008 at 18:40

    I’m sorry, Dr. Farley is being disingenuous. He says that he doesn’t endorse or espouse violence. However, while he demeans MLK and Ghandi, while refering to the “great” John Brown. Brown embodies vilent revolt!!! Admit htat you are for violent revolt!

  36. 36 Brittany
    January 28, 2008 at 18:41

    “the movement should never have been about integration. It should have been about demanding the respect that is due to free human beings…….What’s the value in begging for the right to spend money in a store owned by a racist who would rather kill you than serve you?”

    I agree with Farley´s statement. One of the major complaints about intergration isn´t non violence, but the decline of black businesses once intergration came into affect. As a segregated country black owned business flourished whereas now it is much harder to find them.

    If it was about being seen as free human beings/ equals Affirmative Action wouldn´t be necessary becuase not just blacks, but non-white males would be accepted for their knowlege and not excluded for their physical make-up.

  37. 37 Sam Joseph
    January 28, 2008 at 18:42

    I believe that Martin Luther King was a great man. He was the right man for the United State in a time of change and transition. It seems to me that violence during that period or now, makes people choose sides, often by race. Thus, to do so would have further segregated our society. His approach and message made it esaier for people, other than those of color, to relate to his message. Today, I believe most discrimination has its roots in economic bias, rather a race. Today’s young person sees nothing wrong with listening to so-called “black music”, inter-racial relationships, a black President, worshipping a black man such as the millionaires playing sports. That, to me, is an example of MLK’s legacy. You will never errase racism, here our anywhere. But the fact these discussions can occur and that to even downplay MLK’s message is viewed as wrong, shows what an amazing journey we’ve partaken in these past 50 years.

  38. January 28, 2008 at 18:42

    Dear Dr. Farley,
    I read your article with interest. I do understand you point of view which is very different from what I have read and know about civil rights movement. But I am missing your proposals what should have been done differently or what we can learn form Mr. King´s “mistakes” for today´s empowerment movements?

    With my best wishes,
    Sarah from Hamburg, Germany

  39. January 28, 2008 at 18:42

    Martin Luther King was promoted to the head of the powerful grassroots movement for the expressed purpose of containing the justified anger of Black people, and keeping it well within the confines of saving America, and its foundation of genocide and oppression at home and abroad.

    I agree with Dr Farley that the present myth of ML King, rules off the table any of the fundamental questions and approaches of Stokley, the Panthers and Malcolm X, not to mention the upsurge of millions of Black people [and others of all ethnicities] to refuse to continue to live under the heel of white supremacy

    I strongly recommend the article “The Oppression of Black People and the Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppression” by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, deals with the bitter reality—and the fundamental source—of the oppression of Black people throughout the history of the U.S., from the days of slavery down to the present time, and points to the revolutionary road to ending this oppression, and all forms of oppression and exploitation.

    It can be found at:

  40. January 28, 2008 at 18:43

    Your female guest, despite being against reparations, said “they owe us, yes they owe us”. I can only presume that means that whites owe all blacks something because they are whites, and some whites wrong blacks many years ago. What does a white person who just immigrated to the USA from Russia 15 years ago owe to her or anyone else? Nothing. This is pure racism I’m hearing, that I owe you something because of the actions of someone many years ago with light skin. I don’t owe you ANYTHING because I have never wronged you.


  41. January 28, 2008 at 18:43

    I have a question for the speakers. If you support violence as a means of achieving equality for oppressed peoples, then do you support for example Palestinian terrorism? How far has the violence in the Middle East gone in terms of achieving equality among the people there?

    Kerri from Portland Oregon

  42. 42 Thea Winter - Indianapolis
    January 28, 2008 at 18:45

    I believe in what MLK stated however the world has changed a lot. We have a world that is smaller and we have more cultural differences. I believe that we have to understand those differences and not turn to violence because people are different. Non-violence can work if we all can see each other as people not as a color. In the end if we bleed it is RED!

  43. 43 steve
    January 28, 2008 at 18:46

    Hmm, I’m starting to think Farley wants to be controversial because this topic can get a lot of attention, and there’s no shortage of narcissists these days.

  44. 44 James Francis
    January 28, 2008 at 18:46

    Is it really relevant to consider King’s virtues years down the line? What is the point? If anything is clear, it’s that the world has progressed since his influence. Whether he really did for black people is an academic argument. His role today is a symbolic one.

  45. 45 VictorK
    January 28, 2008 at 18:50

    A question to your guests: if America is the racist hell-hole that they seem to think it, have they ever considered emigrating to a better country?

  46. January 28, 2008 at 18:51

    Your guest does not understand Dr. King’s agenda.

    His commitment was to social change by means of non-violent resistance.

    His program was to love in the face of rejection to shame the oppressor.

    In this way he stands with other “losers” like Jesus of Nazareth and Mohandas Ghandi. He changed my heart and many white hearts.

    It is a great privilege to follow such losers.

    To say he doesn’t respect Dr. King reflects very poor judgment.

    Jerome V. Andrews, CML

  47. January 28, 2008 at 18:51

    To the Professor:

    What is your opinion of the riots in northern cities after Dr. King’s speeches?

    Robert, Cleveland, OH

  48. January 28, 2008 at 18:52

    How can you say that desegregation was not a worthy cause?
    Yes, economic progress is incredibly important, but so is respect. If you keep people segregated for no other reason than the color of their skin, and your own unreasonable fears, then African Americans will never be able to achieve the respect they minimally deserve as human beings. You will maintain an ignorant and consequentially hostile white America where African Americans will never really feel safe (an issue which we still are faced with today). How do you even perceive it possible to achieve economic progress without desegregation?

    Stephanie Tam
    Sociology student
    University of California Santa Cruz

  49. January 28, 2008 at 18:52

    Most white people do not acknowledge anything happened, because (the ones I know) are trying to let go of the past as should you.

    We are all human, and if you keep on holding to the past injustices, all you do is keep yourself down.

    Thank you in advance

    Rochelle Woodruff
    Roseville, California

  50. 50 Jon
    January 28, 2008 at 18:53

    The author is wrong to suggest that the civil rights movement ought to have ommitted the pursuit for integration. Without this substantive goal, the civil rights movement would have floundered and sunk in a sea of good intentions. The civil rights movement was about much more than integration but to neglect or abandon that aspect of securing civil rights would have left a legacy of moral and pragmatic uncertainty.

  51. January 28, 2008 at 18:53

    Hello I lived through some of this civil rights era in the south during my time in the military… Had your guest been alive there at that time and old enough to experience what was going on he would not be so quick to condemn Martin Luther King or his work…. This is not a perfect world we live in but Martin Luther King gave his life making it a much better world….. James Parsons White American American

  52. 52 Robert
    January 28, 2008 at 18:53

    Dr. Farley,

    Your qualifications are as a Mathematician. How has this expertise brought you the conclusions you are making on MLK?

    I am a white middle aged male American and believe that while MLK was not able to achieve all his goals, he was certainly an accelerator of Change within US society.

    Can you actually discuss some sort of mathematical conclusion?



  53. January 28, 2008 at 18:54

    I find it awfully curious that as Americans are finally embracing the notion of an African American president, the lunacy of black militancy slithers out from under the forgotten rock of time.

    John Boustani
    South Euclid, Ohio

  54. January 28, 2008 at 18:55

    Why would Obama want to be thought of as the black candidate? You don’t make yourself the black candidate anymore then you make yourself the white candidate – that’s racism. This form of reverse racism is rampant in the USA. It is totally acceptable for blacks to vote for Obama as in South Carolina but when whites vote for Hillary are labeled as racists. I argue that today there is more racism and xenophobia among minorities in the USA then among Caucasians, which is clearly evident from the South Carolina primary. Just as I wouldn’t want to vote for Hillary just because she is a woman, I would also not want to vote for Barrack just because he is black.

    Minorities in the USA need to stop putting themselves on a pedestal because no ones hands are clean in the racist category. Minorities need to spend less time looking at injustices and analyze their own actions, perhaps they should analyze why the Rwanda genocide and Darfur occurred with blacks killing blacks, and why they aren’t doing more about that. It isn’t always about race, the race card is getting worn around the edges and perhaps that is why Obama is not focusing on it.


  55. 55 WN
    January 28, 2008 at 18:55

    Good evening,

    I am responding to your WHYS show about the Rev. ML King.

    It appears that MLK’s legacy is mostly measured in the emancipation of American blacks, as empowering them to vote. The culmination of this was the Civil Rights Voting Act which President Johnson was able to force through Congress.

    Actually, MLK’s vision was more extensive than just a cosmetic change. He wanted to see an America in which there was a full emancipation of people of color in all aspects of American life. One thing he said, and I am paraphrasing here, was that that it wasn’t so much that he wanted the right of a African-American to sit at the counter (which he did) but was more concerned about being able to afford a lunch at the counter. Poverty, and especially among African-Americans, was foremost on his mind. That is why he opposed the war in Vietnam because it was siphoning much-needed funds for domestic programs. Of course, he was morally opposed to a wicked war too.

    This is just one aspect which I am pointing out regarding MLK great legacy. There is a movement afoot to revise what he was saying.

    Thank you,

    Madison, WI

  56. January 28, 2008 at 18:56

    I’m a 51-yr old white woman, raised a Quaker. I agree with the work and teachings of MLK, but I see why the featured speaker doesn’t. But I think part of what’s happened in the last 40 years is that people have started to see civil rights as a wider range of issues than just money. That seems like progress to me. The speaker seems to think that it’s all about money and that just seems completely regressive to me.

  57. January 28, 2008 at 18:56

    Nate from silverton oregon

    It was non violence that starkly illustrated the oppresive violence of the powers that be. If riot scenes are shown to America at large, it becomes easier to convince the populace of the irrationality of the oppressed class. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been dismissed in message if seen as a terrorist or irrationally angry violent man.

  58. January 28, 2008 at 18:57

    Can you ask Dr. Farley about his opinion on Bill Cosby’s comments and whether it would be a good thing if more people like Cosby would speak out against cultural problems that are holding african americans back?


  59. 59 steve
    January 28, 2008 at 18:57

    The show in the last 5 minutes deteroriated into conspiracy drivel. I think Farley has lost any and all credibility by going down that path.

  60. January 28, 2008 at 18:57

    Professor Farley’s opinions strike me as a simple application of pessimism and anger to a multi-faceted issue. If he thinks King’s message didn’t work he obviously is blinded by his own ego and against real progress. The world is a better place because of Dr. King’s message and I have hope that it will only get better.

    -Ken in Cleveland

  61. January 28, 2008 at 18:58

    first of all… I’d have to strongly disagree with the generalized statement that white American’s don’t acknowledge that African Americans have had a turbulent past in the U.S. That kind of attitude is just as prejudiced and closed-minded as the attitudes of the people that the civil rights movement was trying change.

    secondly… Violence might do to start the conversation but it won’t solve anything in the end. The winning side will still hate the enemy and vise versa. Teaching tolerance over time and generations will have to heal the wounds of an ignorant past.

    Chris in Nashville

    Chris Bradshaw

  62. January 28, 2008 at 18:58

    The speaker is a mathematician so he you probably knows the statistic that if people want only 25% of the people they live around to be the same (ethnically or culturally the same) it results in the highly segregated society. How do you combatt this concept in minority and majority populations?

    Michigan USA

  63. January 28, 2008 at 18:59


    I thought to stay out of this debate, because it is my view that it is mainly for Americans (both Black and White) to discuss. King’s legacy have had absolutely no impact on my live as a black person. If anything it has thought a lot of people to be cowards. Gandhi was right when he said that non-violence should only be practiced from a position of strength not cowardice.

    Lamii Kpargoi
    Monrovia, Liberia

  64. January 28, 2008 at 18:59

    I listen on KALW, San Francisco.

    I believe we should have reparations in the form of free health care, community head start programs, public education of the highest order, grants for college education, and access to loans.

    King’s great impact was the unassailable moral authority of the high road.

  65. January 28, 2008 at 19:00

    It seems refreshing and indebted to Martin Luther King Jr. that in 2008 African Americans can be on public radio lumping all white people into a group.

  66. January 28, 2008 at 19:00

    As i listened to the program today, i heard several contributors identify themselves as black, so i’ll say right off that i’m white. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave us all a person to admire. Perhaps in today’s economy and situation, Dr. King would have chosen a different path. In my mind, he was a “rock star.” There are few areas where blacks and whites come together in agreement. Because i don’t have the perspective that permits me to comment extensively on this issue, i did wish to say that i have long held the opinion that one “color” cannot “raise” another “color” to equality. In the act of raising, inequality is reinforced. And, of course, reparations are due but what would represent fairness in the distribution? Although i do not support the idea, only through a complete reversal of roles can so-called equality come to pass.

    i have seen a huge difference in black self-image, in the way people dress and carry themselves in a white-bread city. That, in itself, is the beginning of change. Does anyone believe that slavery can be wiped away like bad words on a chalk board? We can never achieve the perspective nor can we lend our own perspective on life based on our personal histories. What is the reverse of non-violence?

    melinda j. ingrassia, Portland, OR

  67. January 28, 2008 at 19:02

    Ask this Dr. Farley if he’s ever been on a real African American hosted NPR news show like those of Farai Chideya or Michelle Martin.
    How is his type of preaching ever going to help resolve prejudice, really? Personally this type of talk is most news unworthy.

  68. January 28, 2008 at 19:03

    I think it’s humorous that Dr. Farley says there has been no advancement in civil rights, considering that he enjoys working at Cal Tech, one of the world’s elite universities.


    Dayton, Ohio, USA

  69. January 28, 2008 at 19:03

    I believe what martin luther king fought was has been losted.

    Nothing will change when you have a african american, only television network, african american only music awards and african american only tv and movie awards.

    You are isolating yourself from society by doing this. Not intergrating yourself into society.

    Even the term african american, isolates yourself from all americans.

    Atlanta, ga

  70. 71 Hampton
    January 28, 2008 at 19:03

    It is unfortunate that you don’t have an informed cultural historian on your program to counter your principle guest on this issue. He should stick to math. Is Farley implying that armed revolution was a viable alternative that Black’s should have pursued in the 50s and 60s? If that is his point of view, he should state it clearly. If not, what were the alternatives? Its preposterous to think that Blacks, who could barely get the support of the federal government to protect their right to assembly and protest, would have been able to counter legally sanctioned discrimination and other forms of second class citizenship with an armed movement. Martin Luther King’s leading Blacks (and the rest of this nation) out of legally sanctioned terror and discrimination through nonviolent protest was a stroke of moral genius. He was well aware of the original and ongoing predisposition within this culture to violence and knew that adding another violent chapter to American history would accomplish nothing for Black people except greater repression.

    To place the blame for black violence that targets other Blacks with King is a particularly egregious failure of historical analysis. If anything King drew on the miraculous cohesion, resilience and strength of Black families and communities, civic and fraternal organizations to confront racist violence.

  71. January 28, 2008 at 19:03

    Had the marchers in Selma and Birmingham fought the police with an equal violence America would have seen the movement as terrorism. What King showed was that non-violence can overcome violence and that is what gave the movement it’s power.

    John in Salem

  72. January 28, 2008 at 19:04

    He does not seem to recognize that certain ways of using words can be a form of violence. I suspect he is hoping to instigate violence with his words.
    Naida L.
    Portland, OR

  73. January 28, 2008 at 19:04

    Your speaker says that Martin Luther King failed in delivering his message.
    Fine, maybe he failed, but he tried. What can your speaker say he has done to further the message that should have been delivered? He does sound angry
    – angry and facetious. I highly doubt this kind of bitter personality could ever succeed in inspiring positive social change.

    Lisa Querido
    Portland, Oregon

  74. 75 Paul Prochaska
    January 28, 2008 at 19:05

    Dr. Farley –

    “All generalizations are dangerous, including this one.” and, so, too, is your statement that ALL white people don’t care about racial equality. I, a Caucasian man in his 50s, was raised in a Caucasian family which strove to be involved in the racial equality movement. My parents, both teachers, taught us tolerance and understanding.

    Also, don’t quote scripture out of context – the sword reference from Jesus was made to define whether a person was a dedicated follower or merely someone being swayed by the current winds. Don’t cite from sources you do not personally understand.

    Don’t blame the teacher for the resistance of the student and the resulting lack of achievement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great leader with a greater vision.
    The fact that we have not achieved it is not _his_ fault.

    The more you yell, the less you listen. You show your own ignorance very clearly. Stick to mathematics in the future. And stay off the radio, too!

  75. January 28, 2008 at 19:05

    I believe that if the US had a strong welfare system, people like Jonathan Farley wouldn’t say things like he is saying.

    He is nothing but a self-indulgent publicity seeker trying to make a name for himself by saying outrageous things.

    Shallow, shallow, shallow.

  76. 77 Valentine Ifeacho
    January 28, 2008 at 19:05

    Having read much of the postings and the article by Jonathan Farley, I find the gross underestimation of MLK legacy to be very troubling.

    In order to understand MLK legacy and the teaching of nonviolence, one has to understand the challenges that was faced. In the South of the USA where many African Americans faced violence, the federal and state officials turned a blind eye to their suffering. Investigations were poorly conducted, if conducted at all and at times, the African Americans suffered the violence in the hands of the govermental officials. Therefore, how could violence have worked against an “enemy” who had far greater man-power, weapon and resources?Historically, when one loses a battle they are subjected to poorer conditions than they enjoyed prior to battle. Violence would have failed African American. In fact, it would have set back the little progress that had been made at the time. Nonviolence, was the only solution.

  77. 78 Stephanie J
    January 28, 2008 at 19:13

    First, to answer the questions – I think King brought about awareness at that time. He provoked legal change, which gives wronged people the right to sue – assuming the courtroom is fair, which is not guaranteed. However, awareness and honesty about racism has faded, and the supposed righteousness and exclusiveness of non-violence is adored by those in charge because it is so easy to oppress people by it. Equal rights are definitely not achieved.

    A few other points:

    I understand Farley’s point, and let me append it with one of my own – non-violence only works if there is a serious threat of violence behind it. Non-violence can reveal shocking inequalities and images to the majority – which may provoke violence if changes are not made.

    One of the main dangers with violence on violence is that it can provoke continued cycles of violence. Look at Kenya’s Rift Valley right now.

    I agree that civil rights movements should focus on respect for every human being, but like John D. Anthony writes below “you can’t legislate morality.” Civil rights movements do have to include legal changes, repercussions for acting on immoral prejudices, but they should also focus on changing hearts. King brought about legal changes. But clearly, more than legal changes need to be done.

    And I’d like to bring one last thing to light – Dr. Farley states: “But King was sending out women, children and old people to be beaten and blown up…” So are women incapable of choosing for themselves whether or not they will put themselves in the path of danger? No. If Dr. Farley can’t treat women as equally capable to King and his male counterparts, why should I even listen to a word he says about “demanding the respect that is due to free human beings”?! Hypocrite.

    Stephanie from Oregon, U.S.A.

  78. 79 James
    January 28, 2008 at 19:13

    Dr. Farley,

    I have three questions for you.

    First, why do you lay blame on MLK for the difficulties of African Americans in attempting to gain rights in the United States following his death. You attributed a failure of MLK that no one has been prosecuted for conspiracies that led to the downfall of African American organizations. How can a dead man be responsible for the inaction of others. Are you saying his legacy wasn’t strong enough to compel others to act on his behalf?

    Second, you assert the Black Panthers are who you identify with philosophically. What of their legacy? Is it possible that the Black Panthers with their radical views and criminal tendencies undermined the civil rights movement and set it back to the point that change became more difficult? In other words, the majority resists and fights when the minority is hostile.

    Third – a comment, not a question. You accuse others of putting words into your mouth. You should take a hard look in the mirror, because that was what you were doing during the whole discussion – re-characterizing statements, choosing bits to criticize while missing the point. I recognize that you were under fire, and so you felt a little defensive, but it is hard to respect an argument when it is so fallacious.



  79. 80 Thomas Murray
    January 28, 2008 at 22:07

    Dear Professor Farley,

    Methinks you are only having a bad day.

    I was just thinking about a related subject when the issue of Dr. King’s influence was again raised by the BBC.

    Both John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King were perhaps the last great orators of the 20th Century — perhaps of this Era; an irony that such powerful eloquence (as Abe Lincoln, Mohandas Gandhi and John Lennon might also attest) also draws with it the enmity of the powerfully deranged.

    I agree that Dr. King did not propel the entire civil rights movement on his shoulders alone, but he gave it a face, and a voice.

    However, since I am using a public library terminal and they are prone to promptly pull the plug at the end of the hour’s session, I can address only one point in Prof. Farley’s essay.

    His assertion that, “One of the worst aspects of the King legacy is that, thanks to him, no African-American today is allowed to bring up racism, even in the most objective fashion, without severe repercussions,” is not without its real-world contradictions.

    National Public Radio’s “News and Notes,” a panel show of African-American journalists, discusses it nightly when the topic emerges. Tavis Smiley, another black moderator on his own hour-long Public Broadcasting System show, can if he wants, and confronts it when he needs to. And Tony Brown on PBS’s “Tony Brown’s Journal” is obsessed with the subject.

    It’s also trivial perhaps to laud the position of Martin Luther King Day on the school calendar. Teacher-to-teacher, no one can argue that the mad rush of back-to-school dyskinesia in the dead of winter is not improved with the extra Monday of sleep near the end of the month.

    Better still, we Americans are observing a momumental sea change in presidential politics. That a white woman has a good chance to win the white house is extraordinary. But that — by virtue of his landslide (55 percent) win in last Saturday’s South Carolina primary — a black man now has a better chance of winning the presidency than her.

    And as a 53-year-old republican who’s still pulling for Rudy Giuliani, I’d have absolutely no problem seeing an African-American in the Oval Office.

    Though you might argue that Martin Luther King did little more than figurehead the movement, that’s still no trivial legacy.

    –Louisville, Kentucky (just a few hundred miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line), USA.

  80. 81 Waleed
    January 28, 2008 at 22:31

    He got their voices and concerns heard by Americans, got the support from the sympathtic minority white and the rest of the world as well as explored the level of opperesion that those black people were suffering by the white rulers.

  81. 82 Michael
    January 29, 2008 at 03:48

    I think every human institution is imperfect . Dr King was no perfect and neither was the movement nor its achievements.

    I think what motivated Dr King and the Civil Right’s movement, was perfect and continue to lift the hopes and ambitions of people every disadvantaged, by the legal and social strictures of their particular circumstance.

    Credit where credit is due. If Dr King failed how do we explain Condi Rice, Colin Powel and Barack Obama and all those successful Black people unimpeded by unjust laws?

  82. 83 Des Currie
    January 29, 2008 at 05:20

    ” I Have a Nightmare”. Professor Jonathan Farley argues that the “aims and the character of the civil rights movement were flawed”. He says, “it is time we all admitted our mistake. A black King did not redeem us. And neither will a black president.”
    If the good professor is looking for redemption may I suggest he signs up with a religious body of his choice. The fact is that King did something, perhaps even a small something, something that took a step into a new perception, one away from entrenched American racism, and, as the professor is aware, the first step is always the most difficult, and confusing, but it still takes an act of resolute courage.
    Des Currie

  83. 84 George USA
    January 29, 2008 at 07:33

    The Kennedy clan publicly proclaimed the JFK mantle on Obama today.

    The comparison is more appropriate than MLK.

    There is serious blow back to the Clintons trying to make Obama “the black candidate”.

    Inspiring 100% a nation to unity and achievement was JFK’s function.

    MLK was fighting for 13% of the population’s rights.

    Obama can perform the JFK role.

  84. 85 James in Indianapolis
    January 29, 2008 at 16:32

    My generation had nothing to do with any suppression of any ethnic group or race. If anything, proportionally speaking, much has shifted too far. Soon, the vocal minority will be minor to the upcoming, less vocal minority. Then, after this period of whites being the majority minority, they’ll eventually be a true minority. And with blending of races, once everyone is more towards the middle of skin color, what’s next to complain about?

  85. 86 Chad Robinson
    January 29, 2008 at 20:10

    Jonathan Farley,

    Please stick to mathematics. I respect your calculations and statistics but not your positions and politics. You have so much to say about that man’s lack of contributions but what do you do? You merely speak ill of him and do not offer any alternatives on your own. I find it really difficult to acknowledge your valid points because of the manure that it sits in. Your ability to speak in public would have been challenged 50 years ago. You would not have the academic credentials you do if it was 50 years ago. Please recognize the immense changes that did take place, recognize where things are lacking and roll up YOUR sleeves and do something about it. If you’re gonna talk bad about a black man and his role in civil rights, talk about Al Sharpton, not MLK.

  86. 87 Charles St. Claude
    January 30, 2008 at 14:48

    As a Haitian refugee living in Miami, I see the failure of blacks to realize King’s dream everyday.

    Why after only one generation are my children, and other blacks from the Caribbean or African continent, excelling in business and at the university while American blacks are mired in self-pity waiting around and leeching off of the teat of the generous, and racially preferable (FYI: blacks, despite being a minority, receive more benefits than poor whites) US welfare system?

    In a society that grants all people free schooling, two free meals while in school, a free ride to and from school, and free tutoring for those who need it, why are blacks still complaining?

    The blacks failed themselves, and MLK Jr. is still a guiding light for all.

  87. 88 Izzy
    January 30, 2008 at 21:39

    I think that Dr Farley’s conclusion of MLK’s Speech and plan was very wrong as MLK was trying to bring equality to the world whereas Dr Farley seems to be narrow minded and unwilling to come to grips with a changing world.

  88. 89 jesse
    January 30, 2008 at 22:04

    Pay attention ……it is the Republicans and conservative commentary who are pushing the race issue in the US election.. to win the election they must define Obama as the “black” candidate or Hillery as a manipulative women.
    Also put into you data that during a Hillery event a guy in front held up a sign that said ” Hillery: Iron my shirt” no outrage by the public just think if someone held up a sign at an Obama event that said pick my cotton or shine my shoes……. We have a long way to go for equality for blacks but even more for women

    MLK was fighting for equal rights for himself and those like him…. he was not a champion for equal rights for women of any color Although he did a lot of good he was not good to his wife or women in general…..

  89. 90 H McDaniel
    February 1, 2008 at 18:46

    If people spent half as much time talking about what’s wrong with African Americans as, say, actually listening to us and learning about our history, they might– and clearly, it’s only a minor possibility– learn that the move towards integration was *not* a universally supported ideal, that there have always been prominent African Americans who were *not* in favor of desegregation (Zora Neale Hurston for example) and that Prof Farley’s article is merely one piece in a very long tradition of debate about the topic within African American communities.

    Also, I need to say that I am utterly fed up with pathologically ignorant outsiders pontificating about African Americans and our alleged allergies to higher education. People in my family– common Negroes of the American South, to be more specific– have been attending college in the US for the last hundred years. In fact, MLK and all of his compatriots were products of historically black colleges and universities, which still exist.

  90. 91 Lilia
    February 3, 2008 at 01:20

    I applaud Farley for having the strength to bring up such contentious issues. We seem to live in a world where most people think issues of bigotry are over and dealt with, which they are clearly not.
    When visiting the U.S. a few years ago I was horrified at the extend of the deeply entrenched racism towards African Americans. It was everywhere I looked.
    I am sure Martin Luther King was a good man, with extremely good intentions. He inspired the masses like few people can. But I agree with Farley that the position he advocated encouraged African Americans to lie down and take a beating (& much worse) in the name of taking the non-violence moral highground. This helped the media spin more radical groups who advocated self-defense as violent extremists. This legacy is still being used against African Americans, an example being the arrests of the SF8 last year (http://www.freethesf8.org/). It is also a tactic being used in the environmental/animal rights movement in the U.S., where more radical direct action groups have been named the greatest internal terrorist threat of 2007.
    There needs to be so much more critical debate on these issues or we’re not going to get anywhere fighting bigotry and injustice around the world. We must somehow step outside our comfort zones and commit ourselves to real change, and a vigorous debate on how this will happen.

  91. 93 Rasidha Rahman
    February 17, 2008 at 16:51

    Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January
    15, 1929 and died on April 4, 1968. During his lifetime he achieved many goals and helped African Americans gain their independence and freedom. Martin Luther King Jr. made a great impact in the lives of Americans especially African Americans. Martin Luther King was a great man and set high goals for himself.
    Martin Luther King’s goal was to gain freedom for
    all African Americans. He was a symbol of hope and freedom for them. Martin Luther King thought that segregation was wrong. Separating colored people from white people was wrong. Treating colored people like dirt was wrong. Martin Luther King was the only one that had enough courage to stand up and go against all this. He was brave like a true hero.

  92. 94 pears
    February 25, 2008 at 21:16

    As you all can see a white man wrote this post please don’t feed in to him. if you here the martin luther king speech you will understand its ok here on earth but remember king said we will get to the promise land thats all we needed to here i don’t think his words failed us. we will get to the promise land blacks only allowed
    remember when the lady asked jesus to heal her child he replied you are taking from the house of israel but he healed her anyways because of her faith that was a cannite women and child jesus called the white race the cannite race dogs and to all you so so called jews out here today you are the synagogues of satan you can pray all you want and hold the sabbath you know you are not the real jews the lost sheep of israel belongs to the black race this is to the owner of this post.

  93. 95 Pat
    March 3, 2008 at 16:03

    He told blacks the truth: that disparity lies through non-violence, not violence, a lesson only partially learned given the incarceration rates of blacks, and the domestic violence in the black community.

    Violence may work in the military to crown superior force but it works badly for communities, and nations. It produces dictators, fraudulent monarchs, and military governments. It isn’t right for America, and it isn’t right for American blacks.

    Nor is it right for American children.

    MLK taught it, but is anyone still listening?

  94. 96 georgia
    March 5, 2008 at 08:45

    dear pears.
    i completely agree with you except for the part of the blacks only part. not all white people are racist. and farley and chloe are not racist just possibly making a statement that the world needs to ‘pull up its socks’ and ‘drop the attitude’.
    Firstly, i have a nightmare. No it was a dream in the sense that King had a vision that he wanted to share with the world.
    He stood up for what he believed in and was one of the greatest black leaders of his era.
    Of course he made a difference, it may not have been exactly what he hoped for but there is that minority of people who believe that all people of any race,gender,age etc are all equal. however there is that majority of people who can’t get their big heads around the fact that we all have the same rights and they are not better than you or i.
    every little difference in the the world, works towards the making of a better earth and adds up to the big picture of a more just and peaceful place.
    afterall we should be concerned of how we act and our footprint on the world so future generations can have the life that many dreamed of. Jesus’ vision of the world shall be fulfilled.
    Martin Luther King Jr. died a martyr and will live on forever.

  95. March 9, 2008 at 16:58

    He told blacks the truth: that disparity lies through non-violence, not violence, a lesson only partially learned given the incarceration rates of blacks, and the domestic violence in the black community, thats what i like about him.

  96. 98 Jemima
    April 13, 2008 at 15:34

    I Think Martin Luther King Is/Was A fantastic Man A Did A GREAT Thing For The World. There May Still be A Little Bit Of Racism Going On In The World ButNot As Much As It Used To Be!
    Black People Rock!

  97. June 6, 2008 at 14:20

    i think he did a great job …….so.. in my opinion i think he …………………..

  98. October 21, 2008 at 19:43

    on one hand i think he did an excellent job, but on the other — he got killed doing it, and im sure alot of people who were so hopeful got very upset… i really think its probably about living in peace with your neighbor … when everyone is getting along with each other thats when real change will happen… but that would need alot of work to accomplish it… my grandmother’s favorite saying was “without respect there is no relationship ” and i think that would require a whole lot of change…maybe one day this will happen, but of what i am seeing now, it sure won’t happen in my lifetime…. especially if parents are teaching their kids to hate..

  99. 101 RhondaCoca
    February 23, 2009 at 02:25

    Some of the people here is so ignorant, it is a shame.

    I will begin by saying that King fought for more than integration, why no mention of his work in the Northern ghettoes and his words on poverty and other issues?

    Also for the idiots who keep saying things like this,

    “Having said this, my thesis is that the African-American community has refused to take advantage of the many opportunities that are there in the U.S.”

    It is the exact opposite. Studies and stats prove that black people have taken advantage of opportunities when available to them. Black have made many strides.

    I dod not know why people love to repeat lies.

    In addition,

    MLK said himself that the civil rights victories would be shalow because they would not change the day to day lives of black people which is why he began to fight on a class front.

  100. 102 RhondaCoca
    February 23, 2009 at 02:26

    SWorry for the typos,I type fast but I should refer you all to MLK’s The Other America speech which highlights much of what I said.

  101. 103 RhondaCoca
    February 23, 2009 at 02:28

    Sorry for the typos,I type fast but I should refer you all to MLK’s The Other America speech which highlights much of what I said. You can google it.

  102. March 3, 2009 at 12:47

    i would like to say figthing over little sill things is not cool…..what is cool is if everyone could get an eduication then everyone would be great at working later in life when you need money to raise kids pay the bills have colthing for them plus food where they can live……. I no its hard to do all that stuff but everyone gots to do…..Even my mom has to trust me watching your parents struggle to help support you makes you want to do all of the work………. Thank you yours truly, Heather……..

  103. 105 jessica smith
    April 29, 2009 at 19:04

    A human is a human no matter what the coluor of there skin they have a soul and like mlk they have an opinion, he just opened our eyes to that he spoke for all them black people to scared to tell them racists that they were wrong and that they were just like them with a different couor skin. It’s a disgrace that this even happened in the first place but it did. He changed that all he made everyone see the light, the silver lining fom that constant dark cloud which had finnaly persperated it’s last drop of rain, he made that silver lining he made all there dreams come true, the dream of true freedom the dream that there children could grow to have a future to one day be what they want to be, a physician, a doctor, or even a presendent.
    there future’s
    his future
    everyones future
    Jessica smith

  104. 106 gaetano
    August 9, 2009 at 06:31

    I think Mr. King was a great man.I believe he try to get all people to be treated equally. But somewhere down the line the black people must have thought that mr. king wanted revenge on all whites. They sure do not practice what he preached. The way things are going,soon there will be a war between blacks and whites and many people will be hurt and killed but for sure the blacks will lose and put their race back 100 years.What martin Luther King died for will have been for nothing.I wonb`t blame any one or any race but I will say that people like jesse jackson are not the ones to follow.

  105. January 14, 2010 at 00:24

    wow that waz nice information. it waz fun to read it.

  106. January 16, 2010 at 00:24

    Dr.king not only stop raceissem he inspired people to go out and fight for what they belive in 🙂 therefore i say that what ever makes your hart race go for it

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