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Martin Luther King Jr. in his own words: They include 1619, Nikole Hannah-Jones reminds an umcomfortable audience

“The white backlash of today is rooted in the same problem that has characterized America ever since the black man landed in chains on the shores of this nation,” she said in a tweet thread that relayed some of her speech. “Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance.”

Remember, these are King’s words, not those of Hannah-Jones. There are many more in the thread of her tweets shown at the top of this item. They are stirring. They begin in 1619, as Hannah-Jones’ project did. King called for a redistribution of political and economic power. He called out the hypocrisy of the sons and daughters of immigrants who were given land and other advantages who were saying Black people must pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. King also said: “We know full well that racism is still that hound of hell which dogs the tracks of our civilization.” You might say he sounded a touch angry.

Republicans are the gift that keep on giving in underscoring the uncomfortable truth of continuing racism in America. Such as Mitch McConnell’s remarks, on the occasion of Republicans (and two Democrats) successfully defeating an effort to restore the Voting Rights Act. He said that “African-Americans” participate in elections to the same extent “Americans” do.

Hannah-Jones also quoted today from the Post article:


One of her new thrusts is taking on legislation proposed in Florida to prevent public schools and private businesses from making people feel “discomfort” or “guilt” based on their race, sex or national origin. It has cleared a Senate committee already.
It is not intended to be race-neutral, of course. It is part of the assault on the imaginary teaching of Critical Race Theory and the broader assault on teaching history that includes ignoble parts of the American experience, so often damaging to minorities, beginning with Native Americans.

Hannah-Jones’ idea is to take that law and use it to illustrate teaching that glorifies the bad guys or puts a misleading, mythological gloss on the past — see “Gone With the Wind”-style plantation life and the happy whistling retainers of “Song of the South.”

Example of her idea:

If school children can be asked to theorize about the good that came from Indian removal perhaps they could be asked in Arkansas to write an essay on states rights and why there were many reasons, including freedom of religion,  that Orval Faubus tried to stop Black children from joining white children in public school classrooms. They also could opine about the ills that have arisen since from judicial activism in that case. Rep. Mark Lowery and  Co. could provide source material, I’m sure.