Saturday, October 23, 2021

Jesse Jackson on M.L.K.: One Bullet Couldn’t Kill the Movement


*Rev. Jesse Jackson was part of the inner circle of Martin Luther King in 1968 and he even witnessed the assassination itself. So, it should go without saying that him weighing in on the scenario was quite shocking and so was his account about the turbulent aftermath.

One of the People with King That Day

A 26-year-old rising figure named Jesse Jackson was with the Rev. King when a bullet felled him forever. 50 years since the incident, Jackson had managed to become an icon for nation civil-rights because he worked tirelessly to destroy all the vestiges of racism that existed in society.

He said that Dr. King was involved in a war against poverty when America was involved in a war against Vietnam. He wished to secure jobs with good incomes for every American. All of this followed the killing of 2 Black garbage men in Memphis on 1st February.

This led to the belief that poor workers didn’t have collective bargaining rights and even their strike couldn’t epitomize their point. When Dr. King expressed his concerns about ending the war and focusing on things back home, he was called treasonous and thought to be consorting with foreign powers.

According to Jesse James, FBI director Edgar Hoover had even deemed Dr. King a “damn liar.” He even said that the Reverend was amongst the most wanted men in America whenever a crisis broke out.

Jesse Jackson - youtube screenshot

“The Bullet Came From That Way”

Jesse James recalls that he was coming from across the courtyard as he had been practicing some freedom songs since the morning. They were supposed to leave at 5 but it was now 6 and Dr. King had even pointed out there they were late and were not even ready for the dinner they were heading out to. This is where Jesse James playfully said that the Reverend was crazy and M.L.K. asked whether they could play his favorite song today.

After saying these words, the Revered raised his head and the bullet hit him in the neck and a couple of people screamed: “Get low! Get low! Get low!” This is when everyone around was thinking that the weapon was automatic and everyone was in danger – but quickly thought against it.  This is when Reverend Kyles and Andy Young were pointing into the horizon saying, “The bullet came from that way.” They called Mrs. King to inform her and by the time she called back to check, the Reverend was gone.

“Deepwater does not drown you. You drown when you stop kicking. You can’t give up. Even when it’s dark, you must always know that the light is upon us. And we say in scripture, “though you slay me, ye will I trust you.” We will not give up our trust in God and our confidence in our movement just because it was dark.” – Jesse Jackson



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