I was a teenager in the 60’s. I remember Martin Luther King well. Unfortunately, my memory runs deeper than the simple summaries so prevalent today. There is no doubt he was a great man and single handedly accomplished more than anyone thought possible. However, i credit him with accomplishments that I have yet to see in writing anywhere else.
His accomplishments in leading and creating attention to civil rights injustice goes without saying. But I also note, that he too evolved away from his core message, most likely from political necessity. What I mean is he did not just focus on civil rights. By 1967 and early 1968 Vietnam was occupying the mind of America as well. We had the riots at Berkeley (I was there) and elsewhere.
Dr. King also railed against the war and poverty. Obviously, these were having a big impact on his constituency, however he had moved beyond just civil rights.
What I credit him with is the entire makeover of the Democratic Party. Prior to him the democratic party was the racist party. I mean the party was full of outspoken segregationists like Strom Thurmond. Overnight, shortly after his death, the democratic party did a complete change and became the champion of civil rights, poor people and minorities. They created a loose coalition of minorites, including blacks, women and other underrepresented classes. Never mind it was wealthy people offering to exchange help fo minorities in exchange for the granting of political power. Candidly it worked.
Understanding this helps to understand the political environment today. As a result of granting power to wealthy whites, it was returned to black leaders for their support. People like Jesse Jackson were able to build power in a symbiotic exchange of power on the backs of his constituents.
So we come to the election environment today. Ever wonder why so many black leaders support Clinton?. It is easy to understand when you realize she is the "old guard" and knows who owes whom what. Barack Obama has no such obligations and hence threatens the heck out of the old power structure. Once you understand this, it becomes clear why organizations like Black Entertainment Television support a white woman over a black man.
To this day I am shocked that Oprah took the risk she did and stood up for what she believed, as did Martin Luther King. Unfortunately, she will be punished too.