On October 16, 2022, I posted a video of things you didn’t know about MLK to TikTok and Instagram. I followed this with a video of women who refused to give up their seats on public transportation before Rosa Parks on October 26th.
And my social media has not been the same since.
My TikTok account increased from 200+ followers when I posted the videos to 1K.
The Rosa Parks video has over 200K views, 30K likes, and over 3K shares on TikTok.
The MLK video is up 57K views, 7K likes, 948 saves, and over 1K shares on Instagram.
But this has not been without controversy.
Since posting the videos, I have experienced attacks on me personally and Dr. King’s legacy. I am okay with this. It comes with the territory.
When telling the truth, the truth teller must expect push back. Prepare your heart for testing. Otherwise, should you wish not to receive negative feedback, do nothing and say nothing.
If you wish to be liked by everyone and not change the world, don’t. Sit on your hands and be quiet.
My calling does not require me to do the latter.
I only have a few questions for those who find fault in me, Dr. King, the videos, and anything I put out.
What have you done to move the needle forward for the advancement of anything?
When you call out Dr. King’s discrepancies and highlight his sins over his triumphs, do you ask yourself what you have done?
Do you consider in your own heart the skeletons in your own closet that no one knows about but you and YAH?
Do you consider your own flaws in your tearing down of someone else?
What programs did you start? What rally did you attend? How many people have you fed? How many people have you clothed?
Is trolling people online and preaching from Facebook and Black Twitter the extent of your ministry? Is debating doctrine on YouTube the catalyst of your movement?
What real work have you done? Whose life was made better by your presence?
We should ask ourselves these questions before critiquing someone else’s mission.
Don’t let your food get cold worrying about what’s on someone else’s plate.
And, for the record, my post was not about Dr. King, the Christian God, and the symbol of white sympathy that this society has made him out to be. My post was about a better understanding of Dr. King, the man, his positive actions, and how his activism has been largely watered down.
On July 20, 1969, the world watched as America walked on the moon. In Black America, something very different was happening. We were in the middle of the Harlem Cultural Festival, a series of music concerts held in Harlem, Manhattan, and New York City during the summer of 1969 to celebrate black music, culture, and black pride.
Also known as Black Woodstock, it is the subject of the Hulu documentary Summer of Soul, appropriately named and highly recommended. Some call it “The Revolution that Could Not Be Televised,” because the footage has been unseen until now.
Why hide film showing a sea of beautiful black people having fun? Nevermind.
Also, in July of this year, Black America mourned the loss of another Civil Rights Activist. Just fifteen months after the death of Dr. King, we saw the death of his baby brother Rev. A.D. King.
In this post, I will occasionally refer to Dr. King as Martin to distinguish him from the other King. This informal approach is in no way intended to be disrespectful to either man.
Who Was A.D. King
Alfred Daniel “A.D.” King, the father of Alveda King, was born on July 30, 1930, in Atlanta, Georgia. On June 17, 1950, he married Naomi Barber, with whom he had five children.
Like his brother, A.D. graduated from Morehouse College, but he was less interested in academics. Although he eventually yielded to the calling of a pastor, he initially strongly resisted that as well. A.D.’s grassroots connections would come in handy later in life when he would help to recruit people for Civil Rights Demonstrations.
While Dr. King knew the boardroom and could maneuver his way around intellectuals, A.D. knew the streets (street smart if you will) and was responsible for organizing and strategizing many of the marches King is famous for, becoming known as a master strategist. He had a gift for leading the youth and had his ear to the ground about what the people wanted, and Martin depended on him heavily.
A.D. faced many of the same struggles as Martin and several other civil rights leaders during the 1950s and 60s, including being arrested in an October 1960 lunch counter sit-in in Atlanta. A.D. and his wife also escaped a bombing to their home.*
*Bombings were so often in the black community during that time that Birmingham had been nicknamed Bombmingham.
Rev. A.D. and Dr. King did not only look alike, but they also sounded alike and were nicknamed “Sons of Thunder” by King. Sr.
A.D.’s personality is said to have been relaxing with a sense of humor.
Cause why he got them glasses on? Brother did not want the spotlight.
Although his activism mirrored Martin’s, A.D. did not like the limelight and had no intentions of usurping that authority from his brother. Friends and family say A.D. King was humble and was not worried about walking in his brother’s shadow. Instead, he played his part and let Martin play his. A.D. supported his brother one-hundred-percent and was in the middle of every movement:
When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered on April 4, 1968, it hurt A.D. deeply, and he never recovered, as he felt it was his responsibility to protect his brother, A.D.’s widow, Naomi King, once recalled.
On July 21, 1969, at the age of 38, a year and a half after Martin’s death, A.D. mysteriously drowned in the family swimming pool.
It is a mysterious death because A.D. King was a “very good swimmer,” according to his niece, Bernice King, Martin’s daughter. According to Derek King, A.D. King’s son, emergency workers noted there was no water in his lungs. “Ain’t no water in his lungs,” one of them said, “he was dead before he hit the water.”
“The Texas Senate on Friday passed legislation that would end requirements that public schools include writings on women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement in social studies classes. Among the figures whose works would be dropped: Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther King Jr., whose “I Have a Dream” speech and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” would no longer make the curriculum cut.”
It used to be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the only name we knew and were taught in history class. Now they are doing away with him, too, it seems.
As more is revealed about the truth of who Dr. King was beyond the “I Have A Dream” speech (including that when he was born, Martin Luther King Jr.’s name was Michael…read more about that here), it is no surprise to me that systems are now trying to limit the already limited information we have on him.
Thus, it is also no surprise little is known of his brother, although he was so prominently involved in everything Dr. King stood for. Their mother, Alberta King, was also killed.
There is definitely something strange about this.
Now that you know A.D. King existed, the next time you see a photo of Dr. Martin King, also look for Rev. A.D. King. Chances are he was right there, hiding in plain sight.
In Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was born Michael King, the second of three children born to Micheal King Sr., and Alberta Christine on January 15, 1929. Micheal Jr. was born and raised on 501 Auburn Avenue in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood, then home to some of the country’s most prominent and prosperous African Americans and now part of the MLK Birth Home Tour of the National Historical Park. The house was purchased by King’s grandfather Reverend Adam Daniel Williams, Alberta’s father, in 1909.
Michael King Sr. changed his and his son’s name to Martin after Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, which led to a split with the Catholic Church. He did this after touring Germany and witnessing the beginnings of Nazi Germany while in Berlin (Adolf Hitler had become chancellor the year before King’s arrival), according to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford.
The Poor People’s Campaign
Dr. King founded a program called The Poor People’s Campaign, a movement that “sought to bring a multiracial coalition of religious leaders, workers, and the poor together to fight poverty in a way that intentionally centered the voices of the marginalized.” Officially commencing in December 1967, Dr. King wanted to bring together poor people from across the country to demand better jobs, homes, education, and better lives. The purpose behind the campaign was to “dramatize the plight of America’s poor of all races and make very clear that they are sick and tired of waiting for a better life.”
“If you are, let’s say, from rural Mississippi and have never had medical attention, and your children are undernourished and unhealthy, you can take those little children into the Washington hospitals and stay with them there until the medical workers cope with their needs. And in showing it your children, you will have shown this country a sight that will make it stop in its busy tracks and think hard about what it has done.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Ultimately, King put together a plan that he thought would help solve poverty so that every American had a guaranteed income. Dr. King set his program to begin on April 22 but was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
Fought for Better Schools for Children in the Cabrini Green Projects
In 1966, Dr. King moved into an apartment on Chicago’s West Side as part of the Freedom Movement. He was less interested in Civil Rights by then and more interested in Human Rights, including fair housing in Northern cities. Chicago in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s was a segregated city plagued with a system of redlining that prevented blacks from purchasing property in their own communities. Not only was the rent high, but run-down apartments were divided into Kitchenettes that split six-family apartments in half, so they became one-room apartments.
“The Kitchenette is our prison, our death sentence without a trial, the new form of mob violence that assaults not only the lone individual but all of us in its ceaseless attacks.” – Richard Wright.
The Projects were the answer to the slums but did not fare much better. People eventually abandoned public housing for the suburbs, offended that blacks were “being treated as whites.” Newspapers and Ads boasted Blacks and Italians living side by side, happy and positive. The public did not have it. Riots broke out as whites pulled blacks out of their cars, beating them. Middle-class blacks were forced out as the screening process got more and more relaxed. Eventually, they put up gates, which made residents feel imprisoned. The once “promised land,” that was the newly established public housing program, became just another ghetto. Black schools also suffered.
One elementary school was overcrowded, and King fought with residents to get a racist teacher fired. “The people from Mississippi ought to come to Chicago to learn how to hate,” he said after being stoned by angry white residents in the then all-white Marquette Park on the city’s Southwest Side. When parents were in their third day of a planned strike, Dr. King met with them, saying, “Should you in any way be persecuted or prosecuted for attempting to seek the best education possible for your children, I can assure you that thousands of parents from all over the city will come to your aid and together we will join you in jail if necessary.”
Campaigned for Black Sanitation Workers in Memphis
Dr. King helped black sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, in March and April of 1968. He compared their struggle with the poor people’s campaign, saying, “A fight by capable, hard workers against dehumanization, discrimination and poverty wages in the richest country in the world.” The deaths of Echol Cole and Robert Walker brought the issue of sanitation workers into the public eye. These men were crushed to death by a trash compensation mechanism on a garbage truck that malfunctioned on February 1, 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King was in Memphis for that strike when he was murdered at the Lorraine Motel.
The deaths of these men highlighted the dangerous conditions under which these men worked. The strike brought it to the attention of Civil Rights leaders like Dr. King, who “saw the Memphis strike and the workers’ demand for union rights as embodying the goals and values of his fledgling Poor People’s Campaign.”
More fun facts about King will be featured in the Black History Facts You Didn’t Learn in School book.
For now, be sure to check out other Black History Fun Facts on the page here.
Historical Fiction (specifically Black Historical Fiction) is my favorite genre to read and to write. I have to specify “Black” because I am not a fan of all Historical Fiction. My interest lies specifically in fiction stories that explore black history in some way.
Historical Fiction is the past recreated around the stories of people who seem real to us, including actual historical figures at times.
As we witness how fictional characters we care about interact with our ancestors and navigate a world now gone from us, it allows us to experience the past vicariously. Through the stories of the characters we can “visit” history and get a feel for what it was like to live in that time. But why is this important? I think a quote from the Toni Morrison Documentary “The Pieces of Me” (Hulu) sums it up:
“You imagine the past because the past has been ruptured. The record of the past of your people has been degraded. It’s been burned up, it’s been taken away.”
Not only has the black past been degraded but also entirely and tragically whitewashed. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a good example of someone whose humanness has been reduced to the one “Negro” who bridged the gap between blacks and whites. A Civil Rights hero who succeeded in making blacks docile enough to accept that merging with white people was the best version of themselves possible. That, if we integrated, we were better people than if we had our own communities and businesses, and could determine the direction of our own destinies. Not that segregation was wrong, but that integration was better. That blacks were better when mixed with something else; that we could not be the midwives of our own selves.
Although King was known as a civil rights leader and Malcolm X as a “black radical” both men were advocates of oppressed people. King told black people their blackness was beautiful, believed in economic freedom and establishing black businesses, preached on black power, and even owned a gun. King was just as “radical” as he was patient…but this isn’t the version of King we are given.
White America adopted Dr. King and used him as the black friend that is used by some to say, “Hey, I can’t possibly be racist because I have a black friend.” King is that friend. Sadly, we have someone whose name is widely known, but who, as a person, is not very well understood.
Forget about the Civil Rights icon, who was Dr. King as a man? Who was Malcolm X as a man? What could we imagine their persona’s to be like? Those of us born after they lived do not know but we can imagine.
What I do as a writer is to take the part of history not taught in schools, and use it as a tool to invent people who could have lived in a world that did exist. To then take these people and let them show us the truth about that time and place. To give these people real feelings and a voice that is authentic to what they could have said or what they could have done. I love to go back to a time before I was born and, through research and creativity, imagine what it would have been like to live in that era.
Book One Re-releases on March 24, 2020
About Book One:
Cynthia McNair and her boyfriend, Alex, express some racist feelings toward blacks. The visit Cynthia’s grandmother Sidney McNair, who recounts the story of her ancestor, an enslaved woman named Stella Mae. Cynthia has no idea of her African ancestry or how deep this rabbit hole goes. Will she accept the truth about herself?
There are only TWO days left of the $200 Amazon Giveaway! You can enter as many times as you like! Go, go, go! Link below:
I am reposting this because February is approaching and we will see a lot of false information attached to Black History memes, same as always.
According to a famous Facebook post, King was not killed during an April 4, 1968, assassination attempt, but survived that shooting and was later “smothered by someone in the hospital.”
Is this true?
It’s Throwback Thursday so let’s go back in time a lil bit.
September 20, 1958
The year is 1958 and we are in Harlem, baby. Dr. King is signing copies of his first book “Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story,” at the Blumstein’s Department Store, on 230 West 125th Street.
It’s a nice afternoon and young King is just twenty-nine years old, releasing his first book and feeling good. And we are feeling good too because we are ready to get our copy. The line is long but before we get bored a voice makes us all stop and look in their direction.
“Is this Martin Luther King?” shouts a well-dressed black woman wearing rhinestone glasses and a matching necklace and earrings but carried an ugly brown bag and an even uglier scowl. The woman stepped out of line, causing groans from the people in front of her.
We don’t know this yet, but she is forty-two-year-old Izola Ware Curry, the black daughter of sharecroppers.
King nodded, “Yes, it is.”
“I’ve been looking for you for five years,” says Curry while pulling a letter opener with an ivory handle from her purse, which we don’t really know is a letter opener because we don’t use those anymore.
“Ooh, snap!” We gasp, placing our hands over our mouths. “Why she come so dressed up for if she was trying to kill somebody?”
“What is she doing?” says another one of us.
“Yea, man. Doesn’t she know this is Martin Luther King?”
“He not all that popular yet,” says a young black boy wearing chino pants and a white polo shirt. He put his hand in his pocket when he said it, smiled and then tilted his head like he was better than us. “Ya’ll not from here, are ya?”
Before we could answer, the sound of screams forces our attention back to the direction of the strange woman. She swings the letter opener at King, and sliced his finger then plunges the seven-inch blade into the left side of his chest.
“Oh, my God!” someone screams and just like that, the store is in an uproar. We are all screaming and running as someone apprehends the woman.
We look at King secretly hoping she didn’t get him because we still kinda want our book.
But when we see somebody who looks like our Grandma rush to his side, we know that’s not going to happen.
Dr. King is sitting in this chair all calm and cool like he ain’t just been stabbed. Meanwhile the letter opener’s ivory handle is still protruding just below his collar.
The police arrive. “Don’t sneeze, don’t even speak,” says Officer Al Howard, fearful of the blade’s proximity to King’s heart. Because of how the letter opener hit him, if King had sneezed, he would have died.
So, they move King slowly and carefully and take him to Harlem Hospital, and he undergoes emergency surgery.
Then, we jump in our time machine and head back to 2021 because it’s wild out here in the 50s.
The photo at the start of this post is not of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after being shot in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.
That is a picture of Dr. King ten whole years earlier in 1958 at a New York Hospital after being stabbed at his book signing. He spent almost two weeks in the hospital recovering.
“If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around here in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.” – Martin Luther King Jr., “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” April 3, 1968
I hope this creative backdrop added some perspective. Although I wrote it like a short story, everything I said here is the truth. Izola Curry, really did attack Dr. King at his book signing in Harlem.
Now to the original post…
There are tons of Black History memes circulating on the internet and this number has increased even more due to it being Black History Month. However, many of these memes are not historically accurate. Please be sure to double check your facts before sharing. Otherwise, you are guilty of spreading disinformation.
Black people have contributed to the world so that we don’t have to make stuff up. If you see a meme with a fun fact on it, just open the internet on your phone and type the name or fact into the search bar. You can tell from there if the material is accurate or not. Sometimes it will even come up that the information is an opinion or cannot be verified by any trusted source.
Use not only your phone to log into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use it to research these things and educate the people right.
Look for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles on .gov, .edu, or .org sites and trustworthy blogs. Peer-reviewed means information from a reputable source, information that shows that other professionals have reviewed and deemed it worthy of publication.
Wikipedia is not a credible source alone. Other trusted sources should support anything gained from Wiki.
And on the Monday of MLK day when everyone takes off and celebrates his legacy, remember that he was born on January 15, 1929, not whatever Monday you take off.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Alycee Lane. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Alycee Lane and I’m from Buffalo, New York.
Nice, I’ve been to New York once. What is the most annoying habit that you have?
I laugh loudly at my own jokes, including the ones I tell in my own head.
Lol. What was your childhood dream?
My childhood dream was to be a doctor who would cure cancer. That dream ended when, at the age of six, I was spanked vigorously for having poured my secret cure into my mother’s milk at the dinner table.
Oh wow. You rebel you. What skill would you like to master?
I really would like to master playing the saxophone, but I’d actually have to learn how to play the saxophone.
Lol. I love it. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
I think it would be amazing to venture off to Antarctica. On the other hand, I left Buffalo, New York for a reason (spoiler: it wasn’t because of buffalo wings).
Speaking of wings, what’s your favorite food?
Anything with pork, which is why being a vegetarian, is pretty damn hard.
Oh Alycee. That was not the right answer. Anything but pork! Don’t do it lol. What kind of music do you like?
I can’t get enough of jazz and blues.
What do you wish you knew more about?
Black holes. The idea of them really blows my mind.
In your own words, define racism.
Voting for Donald Trump.
LOL. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?
FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS.
Are you religious Alycee?
Yes. I attend Bedside Baptist every Sunday (this is one of those moments when I am laughing at my own joke).
Rofl. You are a trip. Let’s talk about my favorite subject. How long have you been writing? Tell us a little bit about the journey thus far.
I have been writing earnestly since 2012, though I had written some academic papers before then. A few months before my dad died in 2010, he asked me, “when are you going to write?” He knew it was my life aspiration. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that, in my mind, I had decided to let that dream go. I was done. When I reflect on that moment, I’m inclined to believe that, on some spiritual level, he did know that I had given up. Those who are facing death often see and know things quite clearly. And if they’re your parents…well, then they see through you as well. I remember shrugging, in that way children do when they’ve been caught. The question bothered me enough that, two years later, when my mother’s health began to fail, I was writing like crazy.
In some ways, then, my writing has been a journey through grief, as well as a return to who I really am – the person whom my father clearly knew and saw. For that reason, the journey has also been a powerful one.
That’s powerful. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer?
The most difficult thing about being a writer is keeping a muzzle on the little critic who sits on my shoulder and pretends to be my muse. The most exciting thing is creating that perfect sentence, the one that sounds right.
“Once I was willing to step out of the closet and be completely vulnerable – to expose myself knowing that I could very well become (even more) an object of hate and of violence from people who looked like me and from those who didn’t– once I allowed myself to be that raw, I became absolutely and devastatingly powerful.”
I don’t know. It is. I think I would talk too much if I didn’t write. Or –or, I would finally learn how to play the sax.
I understand that you specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. You also explore political issues through the prism of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence. I love the Panthers as well as Dr. King. What attracted you to this kind of work? Can you tell us a little bit about your inspirations?
Okay, so not the easiest questions for someone who’s spent the whole day with a five-year-old.
Lol. Answer the question Alycee!
I come from a very political family, so I naturally gravitated toward studying the literature and culture of the CR/BP movements (plus, I am old enough to remember the Free Angela Davis movement, and I used to shout “Black Power” out of my school bus window while being bused across town. To this day, I remember the “White Power” sign that hung from one of the houses I passed every day to get to my integrated school).
So, my main inspirations were my parents, as well as my brothers and sister. Then there were my professors at Howard University, mainly Patricia Jones Jackson and Claudia Tate, from whom I took Howard’s first Black Women Writers class. I went to Howard intending to matriculate for law school and ended up leaving there with a Ph.D. on my mind. Good teachers can do that to you. Also among my influencers: Valerie Smith, Richard Yarborough, and Kim Crenshaw.
Oh, yeah: Toni Morrison, Barbara Smith, Alice Walker, Gloria Anzaldua, Cheri Moraga, Audre Lorde, Sweet Honey in the Rock, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone. Countless women I have loved and who have loved me.
With regards to my blog writing: an “ex” did me two favors. The first was gifting me a collection of King’s work. The second was keeping a copy of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace is Every Step in her bookcase. Reading both radically changed this deconstructionist’s heady, cynical life. Having said that, I like to think that I arrived at this place of a commitment to nonviolence and engaged Buddhist practice through the influence of the Panthers, Fanon, Malcolm X, and others.
Now, my five-year-old is my main inspiration. Every day she teaches me how much work I have to do. There’s nothing more humbling than having someone who has been on earth for merely 1800+ days tell you that you don’t know anything about nothin’. Just plain dumb.
If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?
My superpower would be this: I would make men cry simply by showing them the hand. Why this power? Because I suspect that much of the world’s violence can be attributed to the fact that too many men are unable to cry, to live from the heart, to be vulnerable, to be tender.
What genre do you write in, why?
I primarily write nonfiction, though I suspect this is a cop-out. I don’t know – I’m kind of with Arandati Roy on this: these are not the times for fiction.
I disagree, there is always a time for Fiction!
Alycee, thank you for spending this time with us! We enjoyed you.
Alycee Lane is an Oakland, California-based writer and blogger.
A graduate of Howard University, Alycee studied English literature and later obtained her Doctorate of Philosophy from UCLA, where she specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. From 1995 to 2003, she served as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, after which she obtained her Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall).
Alycee has also written a number of scholarly and other articles on subjects ranging from the Black Panther Party to mitigation evidence in death penalty cases to climate change. In 1993, she was awarded the Audre Lorde Quill Award from the Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum for the essays and interviews that she produced for BLK, a news magazine dedicated to the African American gay and lesbian community, as well as for her work as editor of Black Lace, the first ever African American lesbian erotic magazine.