Would Martin Luther King Jr. support Black Lives Matter?
via AP

Would Martin Luther King Jr. support Black Lives Matter?

#MLKWasARadical
#MLKWouldHateBLM
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As we honor the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, many are debating whether the Black Lives Matter movement of today resembles the Civil Rights movement of the 20th century. BLM activists argue icons like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks have had their legacies whitewashed, and were treated like radicals in their time—just like BLM. But others argue BLM is antithetical to the peaceful approach of Dr. King's movement. What do you think? 👊🏿

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#MLKWasARadical
#MLKWouldHateBLM

Many argue civil rights icons like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. have had their legacies whitewashed. Like Black Lives Matter, participants in the Civil Rights movement were viewed as "radical," and both movements share the same goal: racial justice for all. To change the status quo is to disrupt the current order. As Zeba Blay argues in the Huffington Post:

People believe #BlackLivesMatter has failed and will fail to replicate the successes of the Civil Rights era because its overriding message is one of frustration, not “peace and love.” But this perception of the 1960s Civil Rights era as “respectable” and #BlackLivesMatter as disruptive is far too simplistic, disregarding the nuances of both movements.

While some view the Civil Rights movement as the perfect example of peaceful protest, the reality is it was disruptive and often violent. The Civil Rights leaders of the 1950s and 1960s were treated in the same way Black Lives Matter activists are treated today, and Dr.King would undoubtedly have supported the BLM movement were he still alive. As Kovie Biakolo explains in Hello Beautiful:

King was not delusional to the plight of Black Americans, nor was he ignorant of the history he was working against, and the difficulty of the future that lay ahead. We do a great disservice to his legacy by only considering the messages that are easy to misconstrue for the sake of “keeping the peace.”

But others argue Black Lives Matter activists have no right to claim Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. as "radicals" when they had such different approaches to protest. Alveda King has argued that to downplay her uncle's commitment to peaceful, civil disobedience is wrong, and his legacy shouldn't be used to justify bad behavior today.

Civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. famously pursued equality through peaceful protest, but many 21st century activists have said they want to "reclaim" him under a different image: as a forceful "radical."
King's niece, the activist, author and Fox News contributor Alveda King, said protesters should not push his civil disobedience successes into the background. "Let's discuss racism from a peace with justice perspective," she tweeted ahead of Martin Luther King Day.

Others argue putting BLM activists, like NFL player Colin Kaepernick, on the same level as Dr. King is an insult to his legacy.

Using the hashtag #ReclaimMLK, civil rights activists continue to educate the public about Dr. King's true legacy.

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