Thursday, May 26, 2022

Martin Luther King Jr. Would Be ‘Disappointed’ in Current ‘Poverty’ and ‘Inequality’ in America

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*Martin Luther King III addressed his late father’s “fight against poverty and income inequality” in a New York Times video op-ed published on MLK Day. 

King III noted that at the time of his father’s assasination, he was “crusading for higher wages for Black sanitation workers.”

“Their work conditions were abysmal. Low pay. No sick leave. And many were on welfare,” King III said. “In a speech to the workers, Dad said the issue is injustice. The issue is ‘the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants.'”

“I think if my father saw the issues of poverty and income inequality that exist today, he would be greatly disappointed,” he added. “Back then, 25 million people were living in poverty. But today, it’s close to 40 million, and some say it’s much higher.”

King III continued, “While billionaires pay a lower tax rate than the working class, Americans who teach our kids, deliver our food and drive our buses are struggling.”

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King III also reminded Americans who celebrate his father’s legacy every year that Martin Luther King Jr. “was deeply unpopular,” with “two-thirds of Americans [having] disapproved of him” during his fight for civil rights. 

“The FBI said he was a communist. But he kept protesting anyway,” King III said. “I traveled with him as a kid throughout Georgia in preparation for the Poor People’s Campaign. The idea was to rally people to Washington to press the federal government to provide jobs and income for the poor. This was his other dream, but he did not live to see it come to fruition.”

His sister Bernice King also noted in a message on Twitter, “Please don’t act like everyone loved my father. He was assassinated. A 1967 poll reflected that he was one of the most hated men in America. Most hated. Many who quote him now and evoke him to deter justice today would likely hate, and may already hate, the authentic King,” she wrote. 

“If you really want to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the principles that my father stood for, our whole government needs to step up, from creating a cabinet position focused on fighting poverty to passing a universal basic income,” King III concluded his message. 

You can read his full message in the New York Times.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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