It Comes Down to What We Believe

I don’t think that any black person can speak of Malcolm and Martin without wishing that they were here. It is not possible for me to speak of them without a sense of loss and grief and rage; and with the sense, furthermore, of having been forced to undergo an unforgivable indignity, both personal and vast. Our children need them, which is, indeed, the reason that they are not here: and now we, the blacks, must make certain that our children never forget them. For the American republic has always done everything in its power to destroy our children’s heroes, with the clear (and sometimes clearly stated) intention of destroying our children’s hope. This endeavor has doomed the American nation: mark my words…

Protest in Front of the Robert E. Lee Monument in Charlottesville, Virginia

What both Martin and Malcolm began to see was that the nature of the American hoax had to be revealed—not only to save black people but in order to change the world in which everyone, after all, has a right to live. One may say that the articulation of this necessity was the Word’s first necessary step on its journey toward being made flesh. James Baldwin reflecting on the death of MLK (1972)

About the author: Thank you for taking the time to read this post. What next? Scroll down and join the discussion in the comments section. Looking for more Civil War content? You can follow me on Twitter. Check out my latest book, Searching For Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which is the first book-length analysis of the black Confederate myth ever published. Order your copy today.

4 comments… add one
  • Jerry McKenzie Jan 16, 2018 @ 18:41

    Baldwin’s voice is every bit as powerful.

  • Msb Jan 15, 2018 @ 12:27

    That was astonishing, Kevin. Thanks.

  • Meg Groeling Jan 15, 2018 @ 11:10

    Diane and Kevin–I agree. Baldwin speaks for so many of us today.

  • Diane Hyra Jan 15, 2018 @ 6:15

    Thank you, Kevin. The perfect post for MLK Day.

Now that you've read the post, share your thoughts.