This article was originally published on theburningspear.com on April 4, 2017.
Civil Rights Movement leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by the U.S. government on April 4, 1968. He was 39 years old when he was gunned down on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN.
April 4, 2017 marks the 49th anniversary of MLK’s assassination.
King’s death was the result of the U.S. federal government’s counterinsurgency program which targeted black political leaders of the 60s with the purpose to destroy the Black Liberation Movement.
The colonial U.S. government murdered King for becoming more radical
King’s political line was representative of the liberal African petty bourgeoisie which functioned in an alliance with the liberal sector of the white ruling class.
However, in general, King was a big problem for the ruling class as a whole. This is why J. Edgar Hoover did everything in his power to discredit King and even tried have him commit suicide.
MLK’s liberal petty bourgeois line limited the vision and aspirations of our people to the acceptable parameters of U.S. democracy
But King began to come of the realization that his nonviolent approach was not working.
White people in the U.S. and Europe had no intention of ever stopping their heinous and genocidal acts on Africans and other oppressed people all over the world.
The U.S. government murdered King a year to the day of what some consider to be his most dangerous speech he had ever given.
By 1967, MLK had become a prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a firm critic of overall U.S. foreign policy, which he deemed militaristic.
King gave a speech to 3,000 people at Riverside Church in New York City titled “Beyond Vietnam” on April 4, 1967, even after being advised by many of his staff and aides not to make the speech.
During part of King’s “’Beyond Vietnam” speech, he called the U.S. “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” as he spoke of the atrocities being committed by the U.S. in Vietnam:
“The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy––and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us––not their fellow Vietnamese––the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go––primarily women and children and the aged.
“They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one “Vietcong”-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them––mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.”
Shortly after giving the speech, the colonial media attacked and demonized Dr. King.
The Washington Post stated that King had “…diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.”
Time magazine reported that the speech was “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi.”
The King that the U.S. empire once “loved” was now quickly becoming an enemy of the State.
Two months prior to his assassination, Dr. King gave another powerful speech “Get Our Check” to poor people of Mississippi where he outlined the injustices that Africans faced at the hands of the U.S. government and his plan to organize poor Africans to march on Washington to make the demand for reparations. He stated:
“At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land, through an act of Congress, our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the mid-West, which meant that it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor.
“But not only did they give the land, they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms. Not only that, today many of these people are receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies not to farm.
“And they are the very people telling the black man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. And this is what we are faced with. Now this is the reality. Now when we come to Washington, in this campaign, we are coming to get our check.”
In his speech, Dr. King spoke about the U.S. government’s policy of giving land to white people and teaching them to farm the land with the creation of special colleges.
While white people were receiving these special policies from the State to increase their economic power in the 1850s, Africans were enslaved.
MLK came to the understanding that civil rights alone could not solve the poverty that African people faced and made the demand for reparations for Africans.
King speaking about reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans was a threat the State who much preferred the 1963 “dreamer.”
MLK outlining the extreme poverty of Africans and linking that to the economic power that was given to white people via policies of the colonial government was threatening to the U.S. government.
The State wants Africans and the world to believe that King was killed by a crazed white man who hid in a public bathroom with a rifle, waiting until King walked onto the balcony in perfect position to be shot.
Notwithstanding the fact that no one saw a white man with a rifle in a public bathroom peering out of a window, we know when the State lies just by reviewing its history.
The State has consistently killed African leaders––Malcolm X, Bobby Hutton (who was murdered two days after King) Fred Hampton, Carl Hampton, and the list goes on.
January 15th is celebrated as MLK day––a “gift” to us from the State for their murder of the Civil Rights Movement leader. April 4th should however be recognized as day that the U.S. government placed an attack one of our leaders who was beginning to make the demand for black power.
We must recognize April 4th and its importance as MLK did not die of natural causes or of old age––he was murdered by the colonial government of the U.S. Ignoring April 4th is pushing this fact to the side.
Today, the State-controlled media serves our people a very docile version of King which repeats “I have a dream!” over and over again.
We Africans must remember the true legacy of MLK and change the narrative. The African People’s Socialist Party, under the guidance of Chairman Omali Yeshitela, recognizes the role of the State as it relates to Africans. The State does not want us to fight back against our brutal oppression.
King was beginning to understand that peace does not come to those who simply allow their oppressor to continue oppressing them. And the APSP is clear that there will only be peace through revolution.
Africans have to fight back!
Fists up! Fight Back!