Most of Dr. Kings dream has been conveniently forgotten

caines | 4/11/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Tributes, memorials and special editorials went out across the U.S. last week in remembrance of the day on which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated: April 4, 1968. Adding to the list of activities was a conversation between celebrated talk show host Bill Moyers and his guests award-winning authors James Cone and Taylor Branch. Both men have written extensively on King and the civil rights movement. The context of the interview focused on something that we tend to forget in our haste to talk about Kings contributions. All three men agreed that there is much about King and his message that America has yet to appropriate and has conveniently overlooked specifically, economic justice. While King fought for racial equality he believed that it could not be separated from the need for economic equity that is, fairness for all, particularly for the working poor and poor. He spoke truth to power, blasting the U.S. for allowing conditions that made it possible for some 40 million people to wallow in poverty while being citizens in the worlds richest nation. He challenged the powers that be to address the lack of jobs for those willing and able to work and the rat-infested, dangerous slums in which millions are forced to live. Finally, Kings fight was not just for Blacks. His agenda included all citizens and demanded a radical revolution of values seeing people first and not passing them by out of apathy, insensitivity or greed. King has been dead for 45 years. In that time little has changed for those who are the most oppressed. One has to wonder, how many years must pass before our leaders begin to push for true economic justice for all. That was Kings vision. To speak of him in any other terms is simply an effort to romanticize the past and to pat ourselves on the back something that few of us really deserve.