Monday, January 16, 2012


I was part of the march on Washington in August of 1963. During the "I have a dream" speech, I suppose I was wading in the reflecting pool, trying to cool off, because I never heard a comprehensible word from the podium in the general uproar.

Needless to say, in those days I was more enthusiastic about Malcolm X than Dr. King, but King, nevertheless, was a radical. He was radical enough to put J. Edgar Hoover's panties in a twist, and I certainly admired him. I'm sorry I had to hear his most famous speech later, on TV.

There was another great speech that day, from John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. I couldn't hear that one either, but here is a sample:
For those who have said, "Be patient and wait!" we must say, "Patience is a dirty and nasty word." We cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually, we want our freedom, and we want it now. We cannot depend on any political party, for the Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence.
Today, the big news is that the "quotation" engraved on the new King monument in Washington will be changed — replaced by words King actually said. Personally, I think they should blow up the whole goddamned monument and start over. The monumental King doesn't even look like King — he looks more like fucking Mussolini to me.

King has been mythologized, which is not a wonderful thing for somebody who dedicated his life to radical activism. Maybe we'll rediscover the real MLK someday.

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