Dr Martin Luther King, Jr: America’s Greatest Historic Figure and Dr Howard Zinn

The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr in Montgomery, Alabama on March 25, 1965: “How Long, Not Long” address. The previous year he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. Three years later he was assassinated in a country that immorally and in a perverted manner twists the 2nd Amendment’s meaning to allow citizens to have weapons of mass destruction. 30,000 die a year from guns: weapons of mass destruction!!

1) President Barack Hussein Obama frequently “quotes” Dr King: “The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long but it Bends Toward Justice.” Actually this quotation was from a sermon from the great Unitarian New England Minister Theodore Parker that reflected New England abolitionism during the antebellum period. In his 1853 sermon on “Justice and the Conscience,” Parker declared in reference to slavery:

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

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2) On Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, about 600 African-Americans were brutalised as they attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge and march to Montgomery in behalf of voting rights.  After President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s intervention and mobilisation of federal troops, thousands marched again and arrived at the steps of the Alabama state capital: the initial capital of the Confederate States of America. Dr Martin Luther King Jr delivered a sermon with the captivating cadence, “How Long, Not Long,” between various biblical citations and Dr King’s revised version of the Parker “arc.” Several whites including Unitarian minister Rev. James J. Reeb and Viola Gregg Liuzzo, from Detroit, were killed by Ku Klux Klan and other terrorists on the highway in the Selma to Montgomery freedom campaign. Liuzzo was the first white woman to be killed in the decades-long anti-apartheid struggle in the United States. Of course most of the casualties were African American. The Selma march led to the passage of the epochal Voting Rights Act of 1965, that finally placed the power of the Department of Justice behind voting registration and its exercise.

3) I am sure if he were alive today, Dr King would stand on the West Bank or Gaza or Darfur or Tucson or Port-au-Prince or Guantánamo and proclaim: “How Long, Not Long!” Indeed how long do we turn our backs to the quasi-genocide against Palestinians, the evil gun lobby in the United States, the persistent poverty in the Caribbean and sub-Sahara Africa. How long do we use the selfish, evil mantra of national security and vital strategic interests to perpetuate such mass suffering in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan while astonishingly claiming to be the greatest nation on Earth: “How long, not long!”

Dr Zinn arrested in protest against Vietnam genocide and holocaust in 1960s.

4) Dr King received his Ph.D. from Boston University in Systematic Theology in 1955. His dissertation, which did not alway adhere to best practices in citation, was entitled: “A Comparison of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Wiseman.” Dr Howard Zinn met Dr King, marched in Selma and was one of the first members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (S.N.C.C.) Executive Board. He died on January 27, 2010 and taught at Boston University in the Department of Government/Political Science. Those two figures: one an epoch, world transformative figure; the other the greatest scholar-historian activist in Americn history are unquestionably the two greatest individuals ever associated with Boston University. I graduated from B.U.

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