We should celebrate Dr. King on the day he was killed, April 4th, 1968, a year after a momentous speech, as a reminder that this great man was stolen from us, the people. The historical possibilities King stood for, captured in the idea of the great arc of justice that history tended toward, were crushed by political violence from the deep state.
William Pepper, in his book An Act of State, shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the official version of the crime is false and that the real perpetrators were protected from prosecution by a government cover-up.
Dr. King is mostly remembered for his “I Have a Dream Speech,” popular in middle school to inspire young people to value civil justice and possibilities for freedom.
A few years after the Dream Speech, Dr. King moved away from pure civil rights and moved into fighting for poor people’s right to dignity and economic equity and opposing the Vietnam War. It was these steps toward greater justice and the prospect of a mass protest in Washington, DC, that cost him his life.
It is now an accepted fact that Fred Hampton was assassinated by the Chicago police in a coordinated strike by the FBI. His death, like Dr. King’s murder, was part of a pattern of state terrorism going back to JFK’s assassination in 1963, followed by that of Malcolm X. In another way, King’s murder was a state-sponsored lynching, evoking thousands of African Americans subjected to Jim Crow terrorism.
The King assassination involves a complicated, multi-layered conspiracy. William Pepper shows beyond a doubt that the official version of the crime is false and that the real perpetrators were protected from prosecution by a government cover-up.
William Pepper, in An Act of State, tells the story of the King family’s pursuit of justice in its civil lawsuit against Lloyd Jowers for his involvement in a conspiracy to kill King.
We can say that King’s assassination is a state crime against democracy because it was an act of state and King stood against the military industrial complex. His death robbed democracy of possibilities for a better society. King dreamed expansively and was impelled to advance a world view that was compassionate and generous but very critical of the status quo and the power structure that sustained it. His message is as true today, his criticism of the military industrial complex, as it was when Eisenhower warned the nation in 1960.
If King had not been assassinated and had been allowed to live a full life pursuing the possibilities he represented, including a run for the executive office, we could imagine a society that was less militaristic and more humanistic, even respectful of nature.
As a way to honor King, we the living should mobilize as though it were 1968, stand where King stood, understand the danger he faced, and organize for a society built on respect for human rights and the rights of nature. This is a way to honor King and his legacy.