Remembering Martin Luther King

    I think it’s been about three years since I swore off the terror porn of Fox’s 24, but here I am, on Martin Luther King Day of all days, thinking about crawling back for more. I’m ashamed, but I guess it could be worse. I mean, it’s not real torture, right?

    Before I slink off into the shadows to watch Jack Bauer dispatch baddies, though, I did want to share something about Martin Luther King that I found interesting. Apparently, shortly after the successful resolution of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956, a comic book was published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, telling the story of how non-violent civil disobedience, as preached by King and practiced by the men and women of Montgomery, had led to victory. It’s unknown how many issues were printed, but the comic proved to be incredibly effective. In fact, according to an article at Book Patrol, it was “one of the most influential teaching tools ever produced for the Civil Rights Movement.” Here’s a clip from the article:

    …The use of a simple, graphic format to teach young freedom fighters the techniques Dr. King used in Montgomery was a stroke of genius. Many of the foot soldiers in the army for civil rights were teenagers who had been educated at sub-standard, separate but unequal schools. Those unable to read well can still learn quickly from the pictures in a comic book, and reluctant readers can be lured in by an eye-caching illustration. The Montgomery Story was written to inspire these young victims of segregation to nonviolent action, and to warn them of the consequences. The comic is daringly honest in depicting the Ku Klux Klan’s use of cross burnings and bombings to terrorize those seeking equal rights. And time and again the tremendous effort necessary to truly “love your enemies” in the face of hatred and violence is underscored in both words and pictures….

    It’s an amazing piece of work, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it brings a few of you to tears, as it did me. You can read the entire 14-page comic here.

    Tonight’s post, minus the stuff about 24, is dedicated to a friend of mine in Atlanta – an artist by the name of Archie Byron. Archie, whom I believe was the first black man to own and operate a private detective agency in the United States, was a childhood friend of King’s. Somewhere around this old house of mine, I’ve got video of Archie talking with me about his time with King. (Archie handled security for the King family after the MLK assassination.) I’ve been saying it since Archie passed away in 2005, but I really need to find it and put it online. It’s the least that I can do to honor his memory and that of King. (Archie, it’s probably worth noting, owned an inner-city shooting range when I knew him. Furthermore, if I’m remembering correctly, he disagreed with King on the practice of non-violence. Archie was of the opinion, I believe, that violence had its place.)

    mlkcomic

    [Via Metafilter.]

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      12 Comments

      1. Steph's Dad
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        It’s interesting how the right person always seems to come along at the right time to save the country. Washington. Lincoln. King. It will be interesting to see if Obama joins the list.

      2. Stephen R
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        We can debate it here, but I’m of the opinion that King was killed because his message was growing beyond the black community. Poor whites were beginning to take up the cause, talking about economic injustice. And he was making headway with his anti-war campaign. He’d grown too powerful. And the FBI was getting nervous.

      3. Robert
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        Stephen R., are you a “conspiracy nut” then?

      4. Posted January 19, 2010 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        I’m with Stephen R on this one.

      5. tommy
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        All of those with a growing base of influence on the common man at the time were taken care of – JFK, MLK, RFK, Malcolm X. No nuttiness needed.

      6. Edwina
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        All this talk of conspiracy nuts is making me hungry.

      7. Stacie
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        “If a man can see his home bombed, and not fight back — except with love — perhaps there is hope for all of us” indeed.

      8. Posted January 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for this one. I’d love to see that video too.

      9. Aardvark
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        Thank God almighty!!! Martin Luther King gave his life so K-Mart can now have a four-day Martin Luther King Day SALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        This is for real. Check out last Sunday’s K-Mart sales flyer.

        Have these corporate money-worshiping whores have no shame?

      10. EOS
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        So Mark, do you really think the Reverend Martin Luther King was inspired by a Hindu man to use non-violence and that a comic book was the means to spread the message? Or could it be that he was just another religious extremist, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and that the Bible and the Church were the means to spread the message of non-violence and the love of neighbors? Maybe King was killed by the same kind of people who killed Christ – for changing the status quo. And in this age of supposed “separation of Church and State” we have a national holiday to honor a Christian martyr.

      11. Posted January 19, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        King was a great Christian leader. It’s too bad that we don’t seem to have any today.

        And I get the impression from your comments sometimes, EOS, that you feel as though I’m anti-Christian. But, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not that I don’t like Christianity. It’s that I don’t like it the way it’s practiced today in America.

      12. Dan
        Posted January 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        I wonder what MLK would think of Jack Bauer’s friends killing people at Guantanamo Bay? There was an interesting article in Harpers this week on the Guantanamo Suicides see: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2010/01/hbc-90006368

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      1. [...] It’s unclear as to what exactly he’ll say, on this, the 47th anniversary of day that Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, but I’m sure it will be every bit as [...]

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