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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: A Conservative, not a Radical

Posted on October 12 2009 2:00 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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From yesterday’s opening entry in NewsReal’s ongoing series of “Overrated Black People” a commenter who disagreed with Michael Eric Dyson claimed that the socialist professor had indeed written one book which should be “read by everyone”:
David Thomson
The overrated and often juvenile Michael Eric Dyson wrote one book that should be read by everyone. In 2000 he published I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr. Dyson accurately pointed out that the assassinated civil rights leader was a non-violent radical activist. And this most certainly was the harsh truth of the matter. MLK was not a moderate! He slimed the United States as a racist nation murdering innocent citizens in Vietnam—-and was a convinced socialist. Guilt tripped conservatives often wish to deceive themselves regarding the legacy of Rev. King. Unfortunately, Dyson has the much better argument.

David Horowitz, who has been a longtime advocate of King (see the opening essay in Hating Whitey) cautioned Thomson not to trust Dyson’s attempt to hijack the popularity of King for the Left:

David Horowitz

Don’t believe everything (or anything?) that Dyson writes. King — the King of the Civil Rights Acts was certainly a centrist and even conservative. We on the left — including SNCC and the Panthers and SDS — regarded him with suspicion. We didn’t want integration into the American system which we regarded as the Great Satan. Consequently, King was pushed aside in 1966 and had no following. Under pressure from the left he gave the worst speech of his career — the one about Vietnam — in order to regain his popularity among activists. The later Father John Neuhaus, then a radical, either wrote the speech or had an enormous influence on it. Martin Luther King’s message — America should be a society with a single standard for whites and blacks is anathema to the left and they have spent the last forty years subverting it.

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