Hello everyone, Our next Courageous Conversations will be Monday,
January 28, 5:30 pm, at Merrill Community Center, 1428 Wisconsin, Beloit.
In recognition of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, our topic will be Common
Myths about Martin Luther King, Jr.
We hope that we will all learn something new about the life and person
of Dr King.
Neil and Marc
Today, schoolchildren will sing and adults will give speeches in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
But long before there was a national holiday honoring the civil rights leader, many people in the country did not support him.
When King was assassinated in 1968, a Harris Poll showed that almost 75 percent of Americans disapproved of the highly visible spokesman in the civil rights movement.
“There’s a kind of revisionist view that King was universally loved and respected,” Marc Perry said. “But during the time that he was most active from 1955 to 1968, he was not universally loved, and he faced a lot of opposition.”
Perry of the Diversity Action Team of Rock County wants to encourage a better understanding of King and what he believed.
On Monday, Jan. 28, Perry will lead a discussion on myths about the civil rights leader.
“It’s been on my mind for quite some time,” he said. “I want to make sure we don’t lose sight of Dr. King’s legacy and others in the movement.”
Perry is president of the team’s board of directors. The group’s mission is to fight racism and discrimination in Rock County.
The gathering is part of a monthly discussion in Beloit, called Courageous Conversations, that focuses on racial justice.
“It’s important to remember that Dr. King was more than an excellent orator,” Perry said. “He was a true activist. One of the things we don’t talk about is that he was arrested 29 times in the 13-year period when he was most active. He was willing to go to jail for his convictions. There was a level of commitment people do not necessarily understand.”
In April 1967, King denounced U.S. involvement in Vietnam at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and at a church in New York.
“Another thing we do not talk about is King’s condemnation of the Vietnam War,” Perry said. “That did not win him a lot of support.”
Perry praised King’s unwavering courage and determination.
“Every day for 13 years, this man was in the national spotlight,” Perry said. “He was criticized; he was ridiculed, and he and his family were threatened. People did any number of things to try and silence him. But he just absolutely refused to be silent.”
One of the biggest lessons to learn from King’s example is “to speak your truth, if you believe strongly in something,” Perry said.
Perry has high regard for King’s wife.
“The more I learn about Coretta Scott King, the more I respect her,” he said. “Imagine having people threatening to kill your children and husband on a regular basis. It’s not like she stood in the background. She was present for most of those historic moments we all know about.”