Dr. Boyce: Martin Luther King Was Not a Super Hero – Let’s Stop Waiting for Superman

by Dr. Boyce Watkins – Your Black World

As I leave the Martin Luther King Unity breakfast being hosted by the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity in Huntsville, AL, I am reflecting on the legacy of Dr. King himself.  In the midst of my airport inner-ranting, I realized something that I should have understood more thoroughly in the past:  Martin Luther King was nobody’s hero.

Dr. King achieved extraordinary things, no doubt.  But for some reason, we have turned him into something that he would not want to be:  A bionic, all-powerful, unstoppable civil rights machine who could leap tall racists in a single bound.  In a few years, Dr. King will be shown wearing a cape and punching out evil villains, while the rest of us simply watch in admiration.

Dr. King, according to legend, is only meant to be worshipped on your wall, studied in class and honored at an annual dinner.  In no way, in your right mind, should you EVER have the audacity to believe that you can achieve even a fraction of what this man accomplished during his life.  He was an icon, a symbol, a prop in a McDonald’s commercial; he never felt fear, he never made mistakes, and he never had moments of weakness. Martin Luther King was perfect.

This modern-day rendition of Dr. King, quite honestly, makes me sick.

To allow one of our greatest freedom fighters to be politically neutered and turned into a product of Marvel comics is downright shameful.  Dr. King was not Superman, Spiderman, Iron Man or the Incredible Hulk.  Dr. King himself would say that he was not even intrinsically great.  In his quest for equality of all mankind, Dr. King never wanted us to think that he was any better than the rest of us.  He propelled himself to greatness by boosting up the rest of us, not by standing on top of our heads.

Dr. King quite simply, was something that all of us can be:  an average man who put extraordinary effort into nearly everything he did.  He faced his challenges head on and confronted the ostracism, humiliation and danger that came along with doing what was right.  When God told him to do something, he didn’t ignore the message.  Even when he felt fear, Dr. King didn’t allow this fear to cause him to buckle toward that which was most comfortable, convenient and socially acceptable.

Dr. King was human, just like the rest of us.  But he made the conscious effort to take his limited years on this planet and turn them into something worth celebrating.  He also ran the first leg of a long relay race, and some of us have dropped the baton entirely.  When we choose not to continue what Dr. King started, we are disrespecting the depth and breadth of his sacrifice.  It took our nation 400 years to get here, and no one person, speech or presidential election is going to get us to the promised land overnight.

When you go to an MLK dinner, you’re likely to hear a speech that sounds something like this:   “Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream about unity, harmony, coming together, loving one another and serving others.  He believed that all of us should be kind toward our fellow man regardless of the color of his/her skin.  He taught us that we are all God’s children, and that America is the land of opportunity.”

This statement is not incorrect, Dr. King did believe all these things.  But when we tell the story about the peaceful, sweet, kind little man who was nice to those who tried to kill him, we must supplement the remarks with an even more accurate speech that sounds like this: “Dr. King battled tirelessly on behalf of the oppressed, fought against the establishment when necessary, demanded socio-economic equality, faced controversy head-on, endured tremendous unpopularity for his beliefs, openly confronted white supremacy in America and put his life on the line for black people.  He demanded that the American capitalist war machine be altered and that African Americans be given access to economic and social equality by any means necessary.  In other words, Dr. King was not a passive little punk.”

As it stands, Dr. King would see almost nothing about America that reflects the essence of his dream.  He would see a country where the rich have hoarded the wealth at the expense of the American worker, where we are declaring war on other nations just to take their oil, where black men are being herded to prison like cattle, and where 40% of all black children are in poverty.   This is no great society, at least as far as Dr. King is concerned, and to suggest otherwise would be downright delusional and disrespectful of what this man stood for during his life.

Let’s not let Dr. Martin Luther King be taken away from us.  Reconnecting with Dr. King means remembering that he was no better than what the rest of us can be, and it also means not allowing others to rebrand him as a soft, polite, eternally gleeful corporate puppet used to sedate the masses.  Dr. King’s modified legacy is used to control African Americans in a manner that is similar to how the bible was used to control slaves on the plantation.  Martin Luther King was a fighter, and there’s no getting away from that.  We must start finding ways to honor this man properly.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. 



Filed under African Americans

127 responses to “Dr. Boyce: Martin Luther King Was Not a Super Hero – Let’s Stop Waiting for Superman

  1. outstanding post.DR. WATKINS.ONE LOVE

  2. Renelda Moorehead

    Dr. Boyce, did the airport rankle your nerves that badly? I have never heard
    or read anything that referred to Dr. King in super-human dimensions. Ever.
    If we didn’t know him personally, The FBI, under Hoover, let the world know of Dr. King’s frailties. This post was not up to your usual quality. Seriously,
    and you’ve said this yourself, I think you need a( well-deserved fun, relaxing)
    rest. Actually, what I saw you say on a video interview, was that you were so tired. Please, we need you and your good works. Take a rest.

  3. Dr. Christopher Mobley

    He was human as we all are. But he was a hero. That doesn’t take anything away from the rest of us, but I’m not going to diminish him to do so. To accomplish all of what he was able to achieve in only 39 years is heroic, even more so in the times and tenor of his era. I don’t need a day to honor his life and legacy, I try to do so every day as hopefully we all do. That’s what he would have wanted most, and that’s makes him a hero. I think that what he wanted and what Dr. Boyce is saying is that we can all be heroes in our way.

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  5. Martin Luther King was a hero. He focused on values that have been lost in our communities: excellence in all that we do; love and forgiveness of one’s enemies; and a willingness to do what is right instead of what feels right. Martin Luther King’s ability to lead the masses and make those at the top recognize that America was not living up to its promises has been unmatched. We could be on the right road again if only we would return to the principles that he encouraged. If we are going to be “fighters”, we must first correctly identify who and what the enemy is. We must also fight from a moral high ground.

  6. Val

    Dr Boyce, I agree that Dr King was imperfect because he was human and, like you alluded to, he did something that perhaps most of us can do..take a stand and do something. However, I also feel like some of the other posters that you seem rather harsh when speaking of Dr. King this time. Dr King has been and will always be considered a compassionate hero, an articulate and fearless spokesperson for the downtrodden, and an amazing dreamer who tried to help mankind as best as he could through non violence. God sends prophets such as King and Farrakhan and many others to help us out in this wicked world. We may not always agree or even understand some of their viewpoints, but that is usually the case with any prophet that is truly sent by God. I enjoy many of your articles, Dr. Boyce.

  7. Bat

    Boyce, you are still a self-centered CLOWN.

  8. I would think the issue is how you define or view what a hero is. Marvel comics notwithstanding, heroes are those who have the courage and the wherewithal to intervene on the behalf of others. These folks are present in different venues and in all walks of life. Many will remain unsung, however, their interventions are present in the folks who continue to help and serve others. They fight injustice and attempt to correct wrongs where they find them. Dr. King was a hero in the truest sense for his message was heard by millions not only on the domestic front but globally.

    The imaginary feats of super heroes doesn’t bode well with how we view reality based heroes such as Dr. King and many of the other freedom fighters of that time. As I stated on my tag about Dr. King, human frailties don’t always overshadow good deeds!

  9. Cedric A. Nash

    Something else to think about as you also gave great insight in Asheville, NC. Thank you.

  10. Charles McGee

    It is that Michael King, Jr., the name on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, birth certificate, could not embrace Black Power as a philosophy and chose to attempt to finesse American White supremacy. We will always salute him for his effort in the way that we have feted others. In about 1961 there were some 150,000 persons who had been passing as White in America. Again, an effort to finesse Americans who knew who they were.

    If offered what King was offered I likely would have taken the deal. The notion that someone should “speak” for Negroes/Blacks/Coloreds,African Americans was a popular notion, a strategy that many thought sufficient. Whether you celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., or Rodney King does not matter. The response to each by Whites USA is the same-GET BACK!!!

  11. Juanita

    Really Dr. Boyce, over analyzing again!

  12. He wasn’t killed by James Earl Ray – there was more to it than that – and this makes him a hero.

  13. Janice G Washington

    I just don’t understand the write-up or it’s necessity. I know that you applaud Dr. King’s work and efforts, but you sound torn in your support/belief. I have never seen nor heard anyone prop Dr. King up in any cartoonist fashion. His works towards equal rights for all is indisputable, except to those who hated him and us because of the color of our skin. We continue to see that racism today as a direct result of the election of President Barack Obama. Why can’t we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy as individuals in the positive ways that we see fit? To so many around the world, he is not only a hero to African Americans, but to all people’s, and celebrated in various ways in diverse cultures. Does everything and everyone had to be hyper-analyzed and hyper-criticized? The title of the write-up itself is misleading and salacious. It reeks of a Jerry Springer-type sensationalism that is not worthy of either Dr.King or you. It simply is not necessary.

  14. Craig

    I wish someone who is deaf and leader could follow MLKs blueprint ..We deaf have not give any opportunity like hearing people. anyway thats interesting of your view of point.

  15. Alma Sisco-Smith

    Dr. Boyce,
    I think you have erred on the side of dramatics to say Dr. King was no hero. Of course her had frailties as a human being; that has never been denied. Of course he urged us to get up and take a stand, as many did and those that died in the effort of living up to his words were s/heroes, too. By definition, a hero is one of distinguished courage or ability, admired for [his/her] brave deeds and noble qualities; a person who, in the opinon of others, has heroic qualities, performed a heroic act and regarded as a model. So simply put, Dr. King was a hero – especially b/c he was all of the foregoing and led others to achieve heroic status as well. Let’s leave it at. that

  16. Michael Flannery

    What Martin Luther King did, probably better than most of us, is what all faiths instruct us to do in some words or other, and that is “to treat everyone in the way which you yourself would like to be treated”.

    Sounds simple doesn’t it? But as anyone who has tried to follow that path will attest, it’s so extremely difficult. Any time we comment on someone else in a deprecating fashion, we are failing to follow that instruction. Because would we really like someone else to make derogatory comments about us?

    If any of us embrace the premise that the colour of our skin – be it black, brown, yellow, pink, white, cream – in itself, makes us in any way different, or better or worse, or more or less privileged than anyone else, then by doing so we are dishonouring the legacy and memory of Dr. King.

    There are still way too many people in this world who consider that the colour of their skin has some significance on their worth as a human being.
    This belief is not restricted to one skin colour. It occurs across the spectrum.
    And until that is eliminated, universally and totally, we will fall short of the utopia of Dr.King’s “dream”.

  17. R.E. Moody

    Heroism in my mind is not necessarily defined by the ability to perform super human feats. If an individual is willing to put himself out there on a daily basis to fight for justice and equity for his people as Dr. King did, that in itself is as heroic an act as anyone could possibly muster. Lets not look at his deeds through the prism of our current existance as a people, look at it in it’s proper realm, the realm of Jim Crow and unquestioned white supremacy.

  18. Willie C.

    Doc I don’t know of anyone who says or even thinks King was a super hero like some cartoon character, but he was in fact a hero. In an era where so many of our Black men, both icons, and lesser knowns, are given short shrift if not denigrated, I see nothing wrong with elevating King or Malcolm to near super hero status. When I saw King laying on a stretcher with a letter opener protruding from his chest after being attacked by a mentally deranged Black woman, calmly telling people that she was sick and in need of help, forgive me if that seemed almost super human to me. I remember a doctor saying at the time that had King coughed or sneezed at that time it could have killed him. Yet looking at his face you saw no sign of pain, fear, or anger. To me that was almost super human as well. You have a right to your perception, but I honestly think this was one article that would have been better off not being written. While I was more akin with Malcolm and Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seales, and the Black Panther Party, I still had the utmost respect for King. If many in white America can portray Obama as a chimp, and our first lady as Chewbaca, I have absolutely no problem with MLK being portrayed as a bit more than a mere mortal. If he is depicted as a super hero so be it.

  19. Coretta

    Well said Moody. Well said.

  20. You’re giving a great man a backhanded compliment, but I still feel its sting. Dr. King was Superhuman, and a Superhero: the world knows it. And so were his predecessors, like Mahatma Gandhi, upon whom he relied to preach non-violence in the US. There are, indeed, special people, who participate in the body politic and make a big splash: Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, and yes, Dr. King. King is a mega-star now, with a whole day dedicated to his fleeting existence on this planet. That won’t happen to any of us–so, I think you should reassess your opinion.

    Yes, King was a humble man, one might say. But he had to have chutzpah, too, to make the US government bow to his plea for peace and dignity. Jascha Heifitz, the violinist, did his job. Sure he was a good violinist. But if you ask any violinist who he was in relation to most, they’d tell you that in today’s standards, he’d be a Superstar. And that’s okay, Dr. Boyce.

    The difference between the term, “superstar, ” in overabundant use nowadays, and the term bestowed on Dr. King, though the same, are world’s apart. Britney Spears, Jay-z, Beyonce, Cold Play, are superstars. But that’s a matter of opinion, depending upon whether you like that style of music they use to entertain. Dr. King is a Superstar because even against his better judgment, he caused the most powerful leaders in the world’s history, to bow to his dictates, not by wielding a gun or a threat of violence, but through words. You can’t be more powerful than that, Dr. Boyce.

    I think it’s fitting to use the term “Superstar” when referring to Dr. King. It puts all this that we go through today, in proper perspective. Jay-Z not calling women the B-word anymore is momentous to his legions of expletive-guzzling fans, however, by no stretch of the imagination is that Superstar-dom. That’s something he should have known NOT to do. Jay-Z has proven to be less ignorant than before–when he used the B-word. That is not superstardom, with a capital. That’s a famous person, who can make a difference, even in his selfishness.

    King? Unselfish. Superstar. And it will ring for as long as we’re on this land. At some point, someone will inquire, “Who was this man?” and will learn of his greatness. And they’ll be reminded every year to question who he was. So let’s champion his Superstar status. And put all the other contemporaries in the spotlight they deserve: a white light following them on stage while they rap and dance and primp and strut.

    Dr. Martin Luther King was the real deal. A Capital S-Superstar.

  21. King took a bullet to the brain for what he advocated and until you can top that then he is a super – duper hero. You should be ashame of yourself because even a tombstone has something nice to say about a person when they are down

  22. Leonarddt1

    There’s no reason to bring MLK down in order to realize the fight continues. We can come from all angles. None violent Educated, Black Capitalism, Poor skilled labor. Allwaysrt1

  23. I agree. Dr. King was a multidimensional personality and his enemies knew this. He was a threat because he was self-controlled but he couldn’t trust that his strategy would always be nonviolence.

  24. CVS

    Regardless of what’s said about the man, i am sure he woke up every day and night, feeling, knowing, that there was a bullet from a white hand out there with his name on it but he still got dressed, stepped up, went out the door and spoke out for the downtrodden, the poor, the disadvantaged and the despised. That takes great courage and selflessness to carry on your back for as long as he did, may someone, many, many others take up the cause and vision and beat that drum, least the oppressors of the human spirit forget.

  25. Ron

    Dr. Boyce with all due respect you’re not saying anything that most of us don’t already understand. Dr. Martin Luther King is a hero because he sacrificed his life more than once to do something that nobody have you ever effectively done before with the same reach and scope.

    It’s cliché to suggest that anyone our society points to as being a hero other than Jesus Christ will fall short. No one’s perfect but hence I quoted we should. Having said that which is certainly not necessary let’s look at what Dr. King actually did. He honed in on a glaring societal problem, had the courage to address it, was relentless in his pursuit to make a difference, and as a result he gave his life and positively affected the lives of millions at that time and through the present into the future. That is, Dr. Boyd, the definition of a hero. No one presupposes that any other hero we’ve identified throughout history other than Jesus Christ is anything but imperfect. We’re all flawed we get that but a universally understood definition of a hero is one having extraordinary courage in the midst of opposition and fear. Simple.

  26. Dr. King was a man of humble beginnings, whose father gave him life and his mother nurtured it. How precious was that gift of parenthood. This son of the human race embodied and embraced noteworthy characteristics that I too believe we can all attain. I hope, in reflecting on his life and this day that I will be able to join that innumerable caravan of truth and justice seekers that have served to make our world a much better place by having passed this way. Long live the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. May we all forever stand true to his legacy and to ourselves and the God of all creation.

    Leroy Geter

  27. T.E. Reeves

    I usually don’t comment on blog and posts, but this is an excellent assessment that moved me and will pass the casual observer by. Today’s leader at one of the MLK Day march here in TN happened to meet Dr. King and thought his views were crazy at the time. Perhaps he wasn’t the only one. In reading your analysis, I am thinking to myself what would Dr. King think of the government’s stance on poverty and foreign policy today? Would it be a different view or the same view he had before his death regardless of who’s in the White House. I think some who comment on here need to read beyond Dr. King’s popular speeches and learn about all of the Dr. King’s views especially from the time of his opposition to the war in Vietnam up to the Poor People’s campaign.

  28. Dr. Christopher Mobley

    I assume that many of us have and still consider him a hero. I hope you don’t believe that we have not. I’m not sure where you’re going with the comment. I’m sure he would be very critical of the war, the quest for bi-partisanship with a Republican Party in no mood to define it other than “you give in to us”, or a number of other areas. That doesn’t make us less favorably disposed towards Dr. King, not at all.

  29. Dr. Boyce, you are absolutely right about Dr. King. I grew up with his struggle, and watched him die. He was a humble, simple man who desired nothing greater than for the rest of us of all colors to learn to get along, and live in peace. He would have been deeply saddened by the state of human affairs these days, young Black men killing each other in the streets, and Whites who don’t care. He would have asked now, as he did then, “how long …?”

  30. G A Ludwigsen

    Dr. Watkins makes an important point- if we look at Dr. King as a hero,we could feel that what he achieved couldnt be achieved by non-hero type Americans, so why try. Dr. King inspired Americans every day and with this applied inspiration, couldnt more Americans approach “hero status” in making a REAL difference? I believe Dr. King would approve.

  31. I get it

    Dr. Boyce, I get your message. For those with harsh comments, you may not get it. The message is clear to those who are knee-deep in this fight.

    Much of the commercialization and hype about MLK Day is to get blacks to believe that we can’t continue Dr. King’s dream, because he was extra special. And that not many are born are like him and can do what he d This day should be a call to arms, not just a remembrance of past works.

  32. Haywood Fennell, Sr.

    You certainly have a way of getting folks to think. Your first act in this article was on the money as you “labeled” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a “Hero.” I’d like to know hero as opposed to what? The work that Dr. King did allowed you to ride on an air plane and not a bus or your car, if you have one. It should be understood what hero means and I think you kind of explained it when you mentioned the “cape.” For sure Dr. King was not a hero, but much more, but we failed because we benefit everyday from his work as a leader, but celebrate only once a year. Thansk for bringing that up.

  33. Delores Taylor

    Dr. Boyce is just ” J E A L O U S ” Don’t begrudge Dr. King’s legacy
    just try doing hald of what he has done for the American Black people. There are too many Dr. Boyce’s around, Instead of lifting up the name of Dr. King for the many brillant thinigs he has done, they sit back and look for any kind of faults they can conjure up. even to the level of a “Comic strip character. After today, I con’t ever want any more E-mails from Dr. Boyce. Keep all your garbage to yourself, and don’t send me anymore of your mail. May God have mercy on your pathetic soul.

  34. N.C. Wilson

    I am certainly no psychoanalyst. However, it appears that you are suffering from some form of mental deficiency. And I don’t mean that in terms of ridicule or reprimand. But when I read the words you chose to use in talking about a person of Dr. King’s stature, I can’t help but notice seemingly deep-seated insecurity, fear and self loathing. Again I admit that I am not professionally qualified to make an assessment or diagnosis of what kind of mental condition could spew out this type of subtle diatribe but brother it is obvious that you are suffering and I am going to invoke the Deity on your behalf. Somehow I want to make myself believe that you are ignorant of your condition and therefore shouldn’t be judged too harshly for this totally inappropriate article that not only assassinates the character of this great humanitarian but also undermines the depth of his humanity. You were wrong on this one and you owe all of us an apology for your egregious mistake. The question is do you have the integrity to hold yourself accountable… You don’t have to be a super-hero to admit that you are only human…

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  36. Joe

    I am not sure what to make of your comments. I take a great deal of pride in our icons – those that led the way for me to even have the opportunities to have the little I am able to enjoy today. I hope this type of message is not sent to our youth. They need someone to look up to. Yes, I realize we all have flaws but I would think them best not to be mention on a day that we celebrate Dr Kings greatness.

  37. Bernice

    Bro. Boyce,
    What is it about self appointed black leaders that they so feel the need to downgrade the accomplishments of those God and the masses has chosen?
    Dr. King in his own right was, is and always shall be a hero! Not only to black Americans, but to the world. His service and sacrifices deems him a hero.
    Many today have this idea, because they can get a few followers to believe and support them when they rant and rave about and against our true heros, they themselves have arrived to the plauto of that leader (s) they set out to belittle or challenage. What Dr. King, President Obama and a few others have done, is DONE! Let’s continue to stand behind and alone side those answering the call of the mission set before them.

    In closing, I would say, a true leader / hero are those rare persons that puts other’s needs ahead of theirs. God shows them a vision for the mission set before them. They don’t pull or cohort people to follow them, but so believe in the vision others desire to become a part of that vision !!

    Thank YOU Dr. Martin Luther King for being one of such a few select persons!!

  38. WizardG

    I wish that Dr. ML King were a super hero because then his heroics wouldn’t have been so easily ended by the Anglo-elite’s henchmen. Then he might have been able to stop bullets and bend steel along with giving up his private life to help the downtrodden and abused American social-structure. Instead his powers were his blessings and his curse. People like King and Gandhi are very rare and becoming ever more scarce because the Anglo-elite and their cohorts have demonstrated what they will do to those who interfere with their greedy pillaging and hoarding!

    The only thing that truly saddens me is that he gave his life because he loved mankind so much he could not stop even if he wanted to, but now not only are “blacks” slipping into darkness, so is the whole populace too!
    Not only is the populace slipping into darkness, but the whole world!

    I watched television today and found nearly every channel void of any tributes to King and his holiday. I saw one King day parade on (I believe KNBC) which was dated 2009! This shows us that very few people (but especially whites) place any value on the sacrifices he made or bother to recognize this holiday dedicated to him. Not any of the usual holiday giveaway advertisements or big celebration events that we expect to see with every other holiday! I even noticed a ‘Betty White’ birthday extravaganza! But nothing for Dr. M.L. King! Our special hero is nobody’s hero! His dreams, our dreams, the American dream, only a nightmare! And nobody seems to want to wake up!

  39. Akbar

    Only two in-depth reply’s, and TE yours is one of them. The people who Dr. Boyce and you are alluding to are the ones criticizing Dr. Boyce insight. I know that Dr. Boyce is being nice here because I know exactly what he is talking about. Kind of hurts that there are intelligent sounding people on here who only know history 101. More White people are marching and doing things on this day than Black people in some parts of the country, why? One day they get to feel altruistic and embrace the “nice” King and the nice Obama. There is still a economic gap that King preached against yet White are still benefiting from privilege. His stand was not supposed to do a lot immediately, but inspire us to keep struggling for equality in every area of life, and it really did not work. He hoped that if you are good to people they will like you one day, never happened. He had to preach this or get killed sooner. Non-violence was what Christians do, not just King Dr. Boyce wants young kids not to think that they cannot do what Martin did that/s all. He had a whole lot of help! If you have not taken a serious AA studies class you need to soon. I was not given much choice but to embrace Dr. King but not another brother named Malcolm. Yeah, well I do not associate him with heroism either. I do not like the word on Jesus either.

    I will never forget a comment Min Louis Farrakhan said about a very famous and (palpable to liberal whites) speech of MLK. (paraphrasing) “…where little white girls and little Black boys can hold hands…” Farrakhan commented: we are trying to hold other people’s hands but wont hold one each others hands… how sick can you be?!” I stood frozen for at least 15 minutes because it was true. We never address self-hate and the tendency to be obsequious when whites are around, so as not to rock the boat. No one else had to integrate, but us, and its hurt us economically forever. Why forever? Because history shows that some peoples/civilizations fade out without redemption or their 40 Acres. Not about heroes and sheroes, you better find the God within, not the human beings without that preach about God.

  40. JanetL

    Dr. Boyce

    What is your issue with Dr. King this is the second or third time you have disrespected his outstanding works

    You are the only one who sees Dr. King in that light

    Those of us who are fully aware of Dr. King’s works know it was all due to the Grace of God using Dr. King to do his work and his will

    Super Hero?

    You sound like something out of some fantasy land no one ever thinks of Dr. King in such disrespectful ways except you!

    Dr. King is gone let him rest in peace.



  41. Dr. King was a leader for those who thought they could not lead themselves but were willing to follow. He was not super human but he did act when others were afraid. He was human as we all are and regardless of the way he is portrayed today, we all know he breathed liked the rest of us. He may have stayed committed to the his ideals longer then the average man being beat down, persecuted and harassed would have and this is one reason of the many why he stands out. He has not been neutered in my eyes. He is an example of someone doing what he believes in regardless of the acceptance of others. He was a great man. There are many more men and women like him from the past and in the present.
    While others thought, he acted. While others stayed in the shadows he was in the forefront. While others were silent, he spoke. My life is better because of him and others. I carry on his work because he was not a super hero- he was and still is a model of what we all can do.
    Norm Hull

  42. Freedom One

    Greatness usually takes place because that person acted in spite of their fears, in spite of their shortcomings, in spite of all of the people around him or her telling them something could not be done. MLK was not a man of peace, he was a non-violent warrior. He took to the streets and got some people who had no pride, no backbone to get up off of their knees and straighten their backs and go with him. A man named Gandhi was his hero. He went to jail 57 times. It kills me today when black people say their votes don’t count when Malcolm X taught us it must be the ballot or the bullet, when we as a 90 percent voting bloc hold the balance of political power. The black people of his generation had to be to be taught pride and that no man was superior to them and that they could rise up and change the world and they did. It wasn’t just peaceful protests against dogs, bombs, murder, church bombings, but inner city riots that gain us the access that we are squandering today. I am sure you wrote this inane article to provoke people to speak out and it worked. Maybe your article could truly provoke someone if you wrote why hasn’t another man willing to risk his life stood up for the black people in America like he did? Why hasn’t another black man stood up and challenged black market drug bureaucracy–MAD/INC–murder, addiction and incarceration as the new Jim Crow. Why hasn’t anyone black stood up and said legalize marijuana and medicalize opiates to free my people. He stood up to the powers that be and said LET MY PEOPLE GO. We only have one hero. We need dozens of hero’s in every aspect of black life. We need an MLK of education, an MLK of business enterprise, an MLK of black psychology to DE-NIGGERIZE millions, to lead them out of the acceptance and glorification of second class ,sub-human existence, expectations and self-concept. I understand the inaneness of your provocation. We have to finish the revolution MLK started. We need an MLK of religion to free us from the most egregious form of indoctrination, the BLACK SKIN, WHITE GOD mental slavery many toil under. JESUS ISNT GOD, HE AINT COMING BACK. We have to be God like is what Jesus taught before the Pharisees took over the Way and brought ancient doctrines to replace what they called the “elementary” teachings of Jesus. We must have radical human compassion, the belief of God’s ancient covenant of “perpetual generations.” Those are the qualities every great person has: RADICAL HUMAN COMPASSION AND A BELIEF IN GOD’S COVENANT OF PERPETUAL GENERATIONS. LIFE FOR A THOUSAND GENERATIONS, FAITH IN THE FUTURE is the quality great inventors and heroes have. They have poisoned millions of brilliant minds with the belief that human existence is futile, slated for extermination any moment. These are the teachings of the enemies of God. The black man needs a new God. Like the God of our ancestors who taught FROM THE SKY MAN CAME, TO THE SKY HE SHALL RETURN. The human adventure has just begun. It is time for us to be God like, reclaim our heritage as the children of God and prepare a world for our progeny 60,000 years into the future. MLK achieved GREATNESS because he believed deep into the future and he knew the “mystery religions” that predicted human doom were just deceptions of the enemy of God and his creation. He wrote that at Boston University. He believed in Life, and like the Synoptic Jesus, that our God was the God of the Living and not the dead, therefore all of those preaching about the destruction of his creation disguised as the RETURN OF JESUS, are “GREATLY MISTAKEN.” We have some serious mountains to climb as a race. We need dozens of MLK’s. It should make you nauseated that there are only a few giants of our revolution. For we have done what Malcolm X said had never been achieved: A BLOODLESS REVOLUTION. But with our prisons filled with Bblack men and Black women are not teaching their children to read and write and do arithmetic before they go to school, not pushing the children to do their homework, soon we will have to have a bloody revolution. Use your journlistic power to push a new radical agenda for the uplift of the black race. Use the power or you will lose it.

  43. Thank you for these words. I agree wit you 100%. Dr. King wanted us to learn how to stand up wit each other not against each other. We as African
    Americans have yet to realize that if there is to be any growth in our communities we are going to have to start standing with each other, and supporting each other, so many of us have lost our courage and will stand up for nothing. We have alloud drug dealers and murderers to kill our children and we will know who did the crime and will not take a stand. We have become slaves in so many ways and have become comatose with fear. Those of us who do stand up are called stupid and snitches. Education use to be important to black people now it is all about trying to get over without that education. Dr. King wanted us as African Americans to let go of Willie Lynch and become strong as a people stand up and be counted and be proud and not be ashamed of who we are and where we come from. We are still caught up in material things, things that should not be as important as trying to communicate more effectively with each other and the education of our children and the improvement of our communities and our economic growth. I feel these or some of the things Dr. King wanted for everyone and he really wanted it for African Americans and we need to start moving towards each other to achieve this.

  44. This article of yours suggest one of two things to me.
    1. Its a means of mobilizing people to action to keep his dream alive or
    2, You need some rest.

    Having read most of your workprior to this article,I think the former is the case. The subsequent article will tell. Can’t wait.

  45. ang

    Dr. Watkins….I had the privilege to see you and hear you speak in Huntsville Monday at the Unity Breakfast. I was so excited when I heard you would be the speaker. I have been a follower of your columns, website and enjoy your books. Please continue to keep it real and broaden our perspective as you do daily and and most of all sharing your wisdom with the Huntsville community. Thanks to technology, i was able to share and recommend your website with the people at my table, who were unfamiliar with your role in today’s black world. Thanks so much. I truly enjoyed your speech and glad this was one Unity Breakfast that I didnt miss. I love this post and happy to see it following your visit to Huntsville.

  46. To my satisfaction, my great brother MLK, was not like the over-hyped GOP Messiah Ronald Reagan — The greatest PR-Swindle in the history of American politics.

  47. WB

    I agree with you entirely. I think some people are missing the general point here. The issue is that Dr. King’s legacy should not only end in him being venerated and then being left him on the high pedestal and then everything ends there. If he is a superhero then it means we the masses being mere mortals, do not possess the ability to actualised his dream in ourselves or beyond. There is a Dr. King in all of us and the fighting spirit he elicited is the fighting spirit we should all aspire to actualised in our daily lives to generally uplift ourselves as a race and to get to the promise land that he envisaged. Because at the end of the day, for Dr. King, it was not about him, but about the people that he wanted to help to get there. That is the legacy he would have wanted more than the adulation…

  48. Dr. Watkins…..Not Long Before Dr.King was Murdered He gave us.. King’s “Drum Major Instinct” sermon, given on 4 February 1968,Here is a small excerpt…
    (If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. (Yes) And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school. (Yes))…I`m sure you know the rest of It…No one person that has great achievements can stand the scrutiny of the future and Time! Not JFK or His Brother Bobby,Neither Could Malcolm X or really any great person put under a microscope as you have put Dr. King.I think later on in life if you are put under that same Microscope,I wonder how you will fare…So please do not try to diminish what Martin Luther King Jr. accomplished. Dr. King is not portrayed as Super human if so its by our own hands not his!..In his own words….
    (Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. (Amen) Say that I was a drum major for peace. (Yes) I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. (Yes) I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. (Amen) And that’s all I want to say.)
    Dr. King was just a man!..who tried to help his people..

  49. Dee

    Dr.Boyce I do like the Articles you Write but this one seems a little harsh and was MLK a Super Hero no but A. Hero to Me Yes!

  50. Harold Lindsey

    Everything you’ve said in your Blog Dr. Boyce Watkins suggests that Dr. King was a Super Hero! Take into account the time period, the racial climate, the terrifying risks, and STILL he pursued all the way to the ultimate sacrifice and beyond! And today, his life, actions and words STILL inspire and help mold unity all over the world! How dare you become so self-righteous that you can actually print words like ” honoring Dr. King makes you sick, and he did something we all can do!” Rather than being riduculously critical of what this great man has done and sacrificed, why don’t YOU do something besides sit on your ass between four walls, spewing this nonsense! What revolution have YOU led??? People like you disturb me. I had an old Pastor that once said…” sometimes people can get so smart, they get stupid. You qualify sir, you qualify.

  51. Dr. Boyce,

    a) There is no such verb as “disrespect”. What with “you are disrespecting me” being a frequent prelude to homicide among those who believe otherwise, a person, like you, pretending that the authority of a PhD gives him the privilege to comment on social matters as if he understood them would do better to avoid such violence provoking errors in the future.

    b) Young black men are not being “herded” into prison by some amorphous “they”. They are herding themselves into prison by choosing to commit felonies. To pretend otherwise again does discredit to your education.

    c) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. may not have been a superhero, but until one comes along, he is the best approximation Blacks have, and his status should not be deprecated by you or by anyone. His stature does not entice Blacks to give up the struggle for equality, but instead encourages them to follow his example to the best of their ability, and many are doing just that.


  52. ecopax

    First time reader so I have no reference points for the author’s previous works, but with that in mind I applaud this courageous effort.

    We so often use “heroes” as a crutch to avoid doing what the actual human being called us to, they become a convenient bigger-than-life character elevated to a status of mythic proportions that no mere person could ever hope to emulate. When this occurs, the spirit of that “hero” is dead and we remain stunted and enslaved to our various oppressors.

    King, in an imitation of Christ before him, called us to a vision of our better potential: spreading the Good News, the liberating Gospel, the kingdom of heaven — and how have we responded? We have turned Jesus into the Scapegoat, deified beyond our grasp, and we have turned King into a hero.

    How do you keep an enslaved and oppressed populace under control? Convince them that the difference between themselves and their heroes is a difference in type rather than degree.

    I have always wondered this: what would happen if we took Jesus, and for that matter King, at their word? What if we actually believed them? What if we lived like it?

    After all, this is what they pleaded for us to do…

  53. Donnie

    Dear Dr. Boyce,
    With all do respect…you almost had me! I read the first few lines and the claws (think Wolverine via X-Men) started to unfurl! How dare someone, especially you, downgrade the legacy of my superhero Rev. DR. MLK, Jr? Had I stopped reading…my panties surely would have been in a bunch. But I pursued your point, waiting with bated breath to lash out and render you a hater. And then as I reached the climax of your opinion piece, your point stood out like a beacon of light in the night. An ordinary man with no extraordinary powers set off a movement of social change in a country RESISTANT to progress and social equity. If he could do it, so can anybody. I GET IT! After reading some of the other comments…may I offer this? You, Dr. Boyce are only responsible for what you say NOT what people choose to hear, read or believe what they THOUGHT you wrote! Point well taken. Anyone of us has within ourselves the POWER to do extraordinary things! To serve. No cape, special gadgets or special abilities necessary. All one needs is a heart, passion, faith and courage. If the Rev. Dr. Could endure, so can we. P.S. Sorry about prepping to gut ya! Have a great day!

  54. Andre L. Powell

    When I began to read your blog Dr. Boyce, I was about to get offended by the notion of you diminishing the legacy of Dr. King. However, as I continued to the read, it dawned on me that you are absolutely right!
    Our culture has diefied Dr. King in such a way in that we worship him, but not follow the example he left. Many of us, preachers, stand up and reenact his sermons, but fail to promote the message that they stand for. No, Dr. King wasn’t perfect, but that makes his contributions all the more valuable. He truly showed that God can use a broken and fragmented life to help others have a better life. Thank you for your boldness to say what others are afraid to say. Dr. King is a great icon for justice whose example should be followed, not worshipped one day out of the year.

  55. Nia B.

    Thank you Dr. Boyce for putting words to why I have just not been feelin Dr King Day. I couldnt bring myself to play in the local parade and be so “happy and satified”. Thank you helping me see that I am not sinical but actually rightfully miffed at the day’s festivities really b/c of the things you oulined (40% child poverty, our men are dispoportionately incarcerated, and black fllks continue to be unrecognized fodder in another country for someone else’s oil). But instead of pouting I need to be active in someother way that honors and continues his legacy.

  56. Ted Mattison

    Dr. Boyce, I think that Martin was a hero within his own right. He did some things that no other man has dared to do. I believe that he had God on his side and that he knew that he had to do what he did. My problem is that no one has picked up the torch that he dropped the day he was shot at the Loraine Hotel. We have a Black President in the White House but that is political. He can only do so much. He is the President of the United States. We need a Drum Major for justice to come from the ranks of the poor and the down-trotten and standup for our cause. We have sold ourselveves out to the man. We meet and we celebrate Martin’s achievements but no one dares to pickup that torch. It still lays on the balconey of the Loraine Hotel in Memphis, TN.

  57. What

    This was a shot in the Arm. I know and you know that Dr. Martin Luther did not represent a SUPER HERO” and the article is funny you would say this but at least we know how you feel in print, thank you for the insight. You come across as a person that has just realize a lot of mistake and you’re trying to correct them, relax and you will get here.

  58. One thing’s for sure. Marvel comics specialized in fictional heroes. Dr. King specialized in being a ‘real life’ one.

  59. Shawn R. Streeter

    Dr. Watkins, I appreciate your rationale that we are all capable of great things, and that as a human Dr. King fought many of the same fears that any human faces when dealing with confrontation. However, I must agree with some of the other posters that he was indeed a hero for doing just that! His insight and courage propelled an entire nation to be greater, stronger, more humane. My mom was a child in Birmingham in the 60s, and marched under his direction. He led masses of young and old to stand up for righteousness in the face of intense violence, and to do so without violent recourse. This level of leadership alone makes him a hero.

  60. Robert

    This is an interesting point of view, from a pragmatic perspective. I understand not worshiping Dr. King as a hero. However, to diminish his contribution and laying his life on the line everyday, so that the people he loved could be free, emotionally, financially, economically, etc is unjust. We cannot begin to quantify what he was to some many people, he did what you have not done. Dr Boyce, and that was die for our freedom. I think it should be required reading for Negros to read his letters from the Birmingham Jail. They really depict his intelligence and ability to articulate the plight of the black man/woman he has been lost in the American diaspora. I think the comic book analogy was just Dr Boyce speaking allegorically to explain the paradigm

  61. Nissanke Weerasinghe

    Dr. Boyce,

    I must say your article on Dr. MLK is quite out of line from the usual high caliber and profound thoughtfulness that are a flagship of your writings…which I admire immensely. Dr. MLK never claimed he was perfect…and people who respect him as a great leader has the right to visualize him in the shades of his beauty that reaches out and touches them most in person. No one needs to try to cookie-cutter him to a not being perfect mold with the intent of identifying what mold he fits best. Dr. MLK advocated and fought for freedom, righteousness, peace, justice, fairness, compassion and dignity among others. Given the richness of his character, the picture any one would draw of him will depend on how Dr. MLK personally touches that person…and that portrait of him will be no less beautiful in the eyes of that beholder.

    As the current discussion of Dr. MLK’s misquote in his memorial reminds us, the adoptation “I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness.” …is a quite different message to that conveyed by Dr. MLK’s own words “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was drum major for justice. (Amen) Say that I was a drum major for Peace . (Yes) I was a drum major for righteousness.”

    Lest we overeach to try to interpret a man whose own words are so clear in its simplicity.

    With best wishes,


  62. Anita Duque

    You have just proved the fact that you are a very JEALOUS man. I first noticed it when you tried to downplay the accomplishments of President Obama. And Now, to diminish the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King! It’ s unfortunate that you have this kind of platform to spread your foolishness to the youth. Think about getting into therapy.

  63. Gene

    A nation: may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history ; one nation under GOD……….. and the rest you know, Dr. MLK’s life is due honor for every generation after! as a great leader in that time for history are teaching tools to better ourself with others today as a nation that has forgotten that GOD, the Creator will lift up a people or leaders at a time for change . titles/labels ? Giver honer were honer due; We need great leaders today for this Time and days. too walk in unity for what the nation faces . Dr. MLK’s have we missed something ! 1. honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions: a man of honor. 2. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one’s family. 3. high respect, to a nation and world . thank be to GOD we had such a leader . just a man ;of greatness with GOD hand on him!

  64. jonell s. clark

    I never knew that Dr. King was some kind of “Super Hero”. I am over 70 years old and was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. I know first-hand what it was like to drink “colored” water, not be able to go to a zoo to view caged animals without special permission, to enter back doors, to hear full grown men called “boy” and women called “auntie” even when they were not related to the white person calling them. I know what it was like to board a city bus, pay my money and have to get off the bus and board through the back door and sometimes the bus would pull off before everybody could board.

    I know what it was like to see my people ( who were called lazy) work from sun up to sun down for $3.00 a day and sometimes they were short changed! I know what it was like to live in a house that it rained inside and leaked outdoors. I know what it was like to nearly freeze in the winter until Big Mama came up with the idea to use flour and water to make paste and plastered newspaper all over the walls, thank God the wood and coal heater never ignited the paper.

    I know what it was like to have to sneak a Colored man out of town because he prostested that a white man was taking liberties with his wife. I know first hand what it was like when your little playmate was raped by a white man and it was ruled that the 12 year old child consented. (I didn’t know what rape was until then)

    Dr. King was an ordinary mann who made a decision that he would do what he could to right some of the wrongs that Black people had to endure. He ignited my imagination and I began to envision possibilities for my life. Today it’s up to each one of us to do what we can do. We must “Wake up from the DREAM”. Anyone who doesn’t wake up is either in a COMA or DEAD! It is imperative that we wake up, look up, stand up get BUSY and WALK the TALK. If we are asleep and dreaming we will miss it again. How many times do we want to get caught looking for the right thing in the wrong direction.

    We can work together if we harness our WILL and dismantle our EGOS. There are no BIG I’s and little u’s. We are all in this together. You can’t crash half of a plane. Dr. King was an activist and he paid the ultimate price for us to realize our dreams, THAT IS IF WE HAVE ANY. But we can’t rely on PARADES, SONGS, SPEECHES or even his DREAM. We must have some dreams of our own. We must have a higher level of concern for our health and financial well-being. We must eradicate our limiting beliefs and self -descrutive behavior.There is enough joy, peace and love to go around and It just makes sense for us to work together and stop being envious and fearful of each other…IF NOT NOW WHEN?

  65. Hmmm. A few extra bills to pay this month eh Boyce? Trying to get a few more hits to the ole site. Next time go a different route.

  66. Anita Duque: In 2012, numerous members of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as President Barack Obama, appear to have no problem selling out the interests of Black communites to the benefit of vulture-like corporations. Whether it is the privatization of public schools, gentrification or the growing economic disparity between whites and Blacks, politicians like Barack Obama could care less about their policies overall negative impact on African Americans. It remains perplexing as to why so many Black people remain in support of Barack Obama- the absence of historical perspective and critical analysis can have this effect on people. Obama’s actions regarding Black America are antithetical to those of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    Anita: Dr. King made it quite obvious with his ACTIONS, which side of history he stood on. Dr. King made it even clearer that he stood with the masses of the oppressed and poor people riddled throughout the unequal social fabric sewn throughout America. Serving as the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Dr. King supported SCLC initiated programs like Operation Breadbasket, which was aimed at economically empowering Black communites. In 1967, Dr. King said ” Many retail businesses and consumer goods industries deplete the ghetto by selling to Negroes without returning to the community any of the profits through fair hiring practices.
    President Obama, cut the energy assistance program in 2012 which is designed for low income people although he keenly aware of the increase in price of all home heating fuel oils.
    It is quite obvious that we cannot expect Democrats or Republicans to vociferously break their collective silence about the cauldron of social injustices that have brewing in America for quite some time-that job must be ours.
    Dr. King once said, Our lives begin to END the day we become silent about things that matter, ” Ending institutional racism in America, eradicating poverty, and stopping the US’s destructive wars, are all things that matter.
    It is pure unadulerated non-sense to argue about whether Dr. King was a hero.
    Dr. King said ” Life’s most persistent and urgent question is,What are you doing for others?”
    The powerful elites tried to buy Dr. King out with a job in corporate America but Dr. King wasn’t for sale at any price. Dr. King understood that people’s business was far more important than personal gain or self aggrandizement.

    Anita, this is why we must speak out against anyone who would attempt to hijack Dr. King’s dream. This is the greatest way we can honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is to be engaged in the types of activities that Dr. King gave up his life for.

  67. Kevin

    Wow… obviously you touched a nerve here… some of the reactions and comments are more over the top than they accuse you of being in this piece… very interesting

  68. Dr. moorman

    Well said, Dr. Boyce.
    Our youth need to know the real truth instead of a feel-good, smoothed-over, prefabricated image of a real man with a purpose that he chose to die for. Most who view your comments don’t understand the use of language to convey a point. They have missed the point. I wonder how many of these who critisize you would’ve actually marched with Dr. King if he were alive?
    Additionally, we have the right to critique our leaders just as whites do. What they are doing to King’s legacy is similar to what they did to Jesus. They took a man and with a crooked election at the Council of Nicea, made him an immortal. The forces that assisted with the assassination of Dr. King are also assisting with the super-recreating of his image. This is a tactic used to make us think that we cannot accomplish what he did. The same with Jesus-by making him immortal-we worship him instead of patterning our lives after his. Jesus said “Marvel not at the works that I have done for greater works than these you shall do also”. King, throughout his life, challenged us to march with him. Now, we waste valuable energies parading in a circle commemorating him instead of working to alleviate the forces that deny us basic rights as human beings.

  69. justin

    You are ordinary just as much as you are an idiot. You will never be Dr.King and perhaps that is what made you rant.

  70. Anita Duque:President Obama cut the Energy Assistance Program for the winter 2011-2012, which is designed to assist low income people and senior citizens although the President was keenly aware of the fact the price of all home heating fuels has increased. Wherein, President Obama also knows that people on fixed income and Seniors have not obtained a COLA or any other addition to their incomes when food and gasoline prices have also risen
    since he took office.
    So why would this powerful President, cut back on the services to our most vulnerable citizens? This is the same President Obama, who came before the American people and claimed that he was a “Warrior for the Middle Class
    and working poor.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been protesting loudly on these horrible inhumane cut backs to low income citizens, seniors, and the working

  71. Deborrah

    Touche’! Dr Boyce!

  72. The bravery Dr. King exemplified every day in the battles for the poor and disenfranchised, up until the day of his untimely death, was nothing short of heroic. He may not have been your hero, Dr. Boyce, but he is certainly one of mine.

  73. Walter B

    To the decendents of former slaves what is needed to right the greatest wrong ever done to a people? Ask yourself what did it take for Jews to be repaired after the Holocoust? What did America do after they droped the bomb on japan. They paid REPARATIONS yes the USA paid these people without asking.
    Why is it the the only race of people that came to this country UNWILLINLY, Slaves and former Slaves have never gotten a dime for Four Houndred Years of Free labor. I can forgive but I’ll never forget. reparations with cure most of the black peoples problems. How? Creat your own jobs

  74. William Beckett

    Dr. Boyce, you certainly provided some thought provoking comments on Dr. King’s role among his people. As for the man, Martin Luther King, he lived his life, and his experiences and perceptions are inextricably bound up within his documents, which are open for all to analyze.

    As clearly shown in the large number of responses to your article, the other side of Dr. King is not so clear. You may recall the old expression that there are three of Me that exist. “There’s the Me that I see, There’s the Me that others see. And then there’s the REAL ME .” What is missing in the African American (or Negro) mind is the Martin Luther King that WE as African Americans SEE. I am not talking about those now in the twilight of life who in the past marched with, sang along with, and listened to Dr. King in person.

    I am talking about those African Americans who were still unborn on the day when Dr. King was killed by a cowardly assassin. I am talking about the unborn, and the children of the unborn and their children’s children. Who or what will Dr. King be to the second, third, and fourth generations to come after Dr. King’s death? Who among us can answer this question, and does the future of African America rest upon the widom thereof?

    Judiasm regards the coming of the Messiah as that TIME when the Jewish people become completely and perfectly AT-ONE with the Most Supreme Spirit of G_D that in its Manifestation they appear to speak and act as one Divine Being in perfect harmony with the Creator. This is the lesson that WE must learn if in the end we ascribe to the desire to become an African American people, who in one day will joyfully lay these bones in peace before our G_D.

  75. Walter B

    With Reparations we would have something to pass down to your kids, grandkids and so on. Why do they think we need or want some stranger coming to our house to give our kids gift because I we can’t buy them ourself. Parents could and would be their kids role model like it should be, not some wood fronting that they like Black people. Ask any White, Mexican, Jew or Jap ro any other race do they think Blacks Should’ve been paid for Slaver and if so why not for pay the decendents. Then women want have to marry a man for money, men want have to use women for money

  76. Daniel Lowry

    Dr. Boyce,

    You are right that Dr. King was no etter than what we can be. However, no one since he was killed has shown the courage, conviction to his beliefs and willingness to stand up for these beliefs as did Dr. King. If the world had never seen Dr. King and the non-violent movement he led, where would this country be today!!

    Yes, he is a HERO in my book!!

    Dan L.

  77. Walter B

    Because looks like the DREAM turned into a NIGHTMARE for most Blacks. Time to pick up the ball, we are not dead YET..

  78. Tyrone Norwood

    What you say has little merit. Ponder this; All iconic public figures are flawed. History and the passing of generations reshape the story. Dr. King’s legacy speaks for itself; however like Lincoln, Washington, Hoover, FDR; Kennedy, history will treat them as perfect beings; Only fools and children with accept them as perfect humans; however, if you want to carry the true mantle of Kingisim, with all of your flaws and faults, stand up. Without the reminder of dooming the future by not remembering our history; lets table history for a moment and lead non-violent protest against the drug dealer four doors from you; instead of waiting for that 14 year old boy death to have a prayer vigil; lead a non-violent protest to the hangout on the corner where the trouble is about to start; lead a non-violent protest for jobs; to the neighborhood that sells unhealthy fast food lead a non-violent protest for that; instead turning a blinds eye to the building of prisons and the non-funding of new schools lead a non-violent protest for that. No he was not perfect and yes he was flawed but is contribution to mankind warrants you to take a stand.

  79. Dr. moorman

    To Those that are hostile toward Dr. Boyce,
    Do you realize how dangerous it is to speak out today in America? The only difference between King’s time and now is that everything is covert and subliminal.
    Ninja’s we have not arrived. Dr. Boyce has been denied tenure and no telling what other atrocities have been hurled his way. All for challenging and speaking out against racism and other human inequalities. It is easy to attack him on this blog.
    Instead of attacking him, go to your local papers, pick a topic that affects our people and write about it. On topics that affect Black people, challenge the powers that be. Stand up for your community! Speak out on issues. Otherwise, continue to spectate. It’s easy being an armchair civil rights leecher!
    You benefit, not because of King’s legacy, but because of us who understood King’s message and continue to sacrifice daily, regardless of the consequences.

  80. Larry Bratton

    This article serves no meaningful purpose. Of course Dr. King was only human, and perhaps there were others (Paul Robeson for example) who were of equal or greater stature who are overlooked. Still Dr. King was a significant leader at a time when one was needed. We don’t need to be reminded that he was human. His death and the manner of his death are reminder enough of that. I prefer to keep my focus on his significance as a leader and don’t need to be reminded that he ate, slept and shared other characterisitics with the rest of us. That’s what makes him a great leader. He was only human and he showed us the greatness in all of us by stepping up.

  81. MLK Jr. was my intellectual warrior serving in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. Dr. King to me was a very very strong Black gentlemen who advocated for the principles of equal justice and rights, for all of us. He would never compromise with his detractors and enemies to gain their good grace. He was not afraid to demand and expect the best for and from Black America. From my perspective, Dr. King would never endorse a government policy of indefinite detention without being charged with a crime committed as President Obama did. He never desired to become President of the USA, so why are we remotely comparing his legacy with Barack Obama?

  82. Eldridge Henderson

    Enough said!

  83. myserip: Didn’t you compare Dr. King with Obama relative to the US practice of indefinite detentions? So why are you comparing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to a politician like President Barack Hussein Obama?

  84. Carol Muhammad

    You can say what you want about Dr. King, but I don’t see anyone else
    out there fighting for freedom, justice, or equality for Black people.

  85. Dr Watkins, I understand what you were attempting to convey with your message however expanded commentary is needed in the context of Dr. King being a hero.
    I do recall at the time that many of us in the struggle for Black Liberation called brother Martin every kind of offensive name such as uncle tom that was out there. Many young people in the struggle urged Dr. King to be more assertive in his actions against all of those societal institutions that were oppressing Black people.
    Dr. King, and many of the young militants in the Movement did in fact evolve
    in our thinking to understand the interest of all Black people was inextricably tied together by a common bond of our history and Blackness.
    Today the corporate sponsored media in conecert with many politicians have conducted a well orchestrated campaign to recreate Dr. King into someone they can feel more comfortable with.
    Dr. Watkins, those corporate frauds and political yes men/women who attended that dinner with you in Alabama are the symbols of everything that
    Dr. King would be oppose to.. if he were alive today. Those frauds know very well of this fact, which is exactly why they, and the mainstream America itself continue to desperately try to reshape the image of Dr. King. Dr. Watkins, many of the people at the Dr King dinner you attended had their way, Dr.King and his legacy, will stand for nothing more than a superficial image.

  86. TAS

    Agree with you & many readers that making MLK a SuperHero undervalues the courage & dedication it required to carry on his mission…for how difficult could it have been, if he had had SuperPowers…And as some have rightfully pointed out, to follow in the footsteps of a SuperHero, makes it that much more difficult for “regular folks” to pick up his staff and try to make their own contributions…Then, after such a great start, for some reason, you gathered up all of your own views (good & bad) & “pet peeves” on things and tried to insinuate them into the article as being part & parcel of MLK’s beliefs & legacy & portrayed your views as his own…..SHAMEFUL…DISGRACEFUL!!!

  87. I guess when you say MLK was human, you mean that it because he sinned. We all do. But some people’s extramarital affairs get forgiven, and other people’s are not. MLK’s apparently are forgiven.

  88. Freedom One

    If a white man said this, all black people would be angry. Dr. Boyce groslly underestimates what it took for a man to rise to the heights that MLK did. First he waged non-violent WAR against segregation and the acceptance of SECOND CLASS CITIZENSHIP by blacks. Dr. Boyce has a second class,subhuman self image and he can’t fathom any black man being any different. His veiw is a second class, subhuman view of MLK. Its like the blacks who can’t accept the ancient Pharoahs were black, the Olmec heads are black, the Dogon cosmogony of paleocontact, the Fon proverb that we are the people who descended from the sky. From the sky man came to the sky he shall return. BLACK GREATNESS IS OUTSIDE OF THEIR REALM OF POSSIBILITY.

  89. Wilbur Gethers

    yo Doc. Since you were living when King did Why didn’t you stand up? I guess not because I didn’t hear about you. I guess it is easy to be one of those armchair monday moring quarterbacks. While others were murdered,raped and ran out town. You Herman Cain sound like you were cut from the same toliet tissue.

  90. Rosie

    I was a bit lost trying to get the point of this article. I am older than you and I have never heard anyone refer to Dr. King as a superman nor super human. If he was he would not be dead from a mortal bullet wound. He was a man with a dream and a conviction. He worked hard for what he believed an tried to make it happen. It is so sad that noone else has stood up as he did since he left us. Maybe people feel that a bullet may be waiting with their name on it. I live in St Petersburg, Florida. After the parade on January 16, 2012, the police lined up and locked arms on Dr. MLK street in St Pete to disburse a crowd that was not bothering anyone. they made
    them stop the music. they were not unruly. I brought memories of the old days when they had riot gear for the demonstrators. My son was very upset because he watched all the movies and documenteries about the “freedom movement”. He said “mom, they are taking us back to your time” I have been seeing this slowly happen but hope that the true God and Jesus are watching. We need about 100 just like Dr. King, instead of the negative commentaries Dr. Watkins, encourage us to push for the fullfilment of Dr. King’s dream. I will continue to folow your blogs

  91. Dr. Boyce, I agree with some of the other commentators, in that your tone swung a bit too far towards disrespecting Dr. King by saying he was nobody’s hero, and that he was just like everybody else! That’s absurd! If that were the case, the streets would be crawling with mini-Martins! Perhaps if he were a SHE, your tone would be more conciliatory. That aside, I did agree with your point that MLK, Jr. was not superman, nor a passive gentle lamb running from trouble or confrontation. In my blog, http://www.donaldbrownbugle.com, I commented on some factors that helped mold Dr King into the man he became. Some of the same factors, if taken to hear and practiced, can be used today to shape our rough diamonds into brilliant leaders with time, patience, and courage.

  92. Steven H

    After reading/re-reading this article, I see what Dr. Watkins is getting at. When we call someone a hero, we put them on a pedestal and subconsciously idolize them to a point where we don’t feel that we can be an equally effective entity. I think God knew this very well about His human creations when He commanded Moses (one of the Ten Commandments) not to make any graven images of anything in the heavens above or the earth beneath (Exodus 20:4)…. yet we decided to do that with Dr. King in D.C.

    Dr. King was one of our greatest soldiers. So was Nat Turner. So were the Tuskegee Airmen. So were the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. So was Frederick Douglass. So was Malcolm X. So was Moses. So was Abraham. So was King David.. (See Deuteronomy 28:68 if you’re wondering why I referred to the last three as part of our history).

    For me, the key is to study the scripture, then study the examples of our history to see the common thread among the greatest fighters we had. The prevailing theme is a desire to see justice, fair judgment, and equity…. the righteousness that God desired and that man we know as Jesus embodied. That pushed these men to deal with the past indiscretions that held them back in order to fully focus on the daunting tasks they faced (Ezekiel 24:6-7, Matthew 5:21-26, Matthew 23:23-28).

    The thing we have to take away from these soldiers is to take a hard look at ourselves, understand the standard that God wanted us to aspire to, repent of the wrongs, and be willing to fight for God’s standard. That’s what these soldiers did. The battlefield isn’t one of weaponry or violence. It’s one of a righteous standard and productivity at all levels in our community. That’s the battlefield that Dr. King was steering towards. That’s the fight I HAVE to fight. That’s the fight we all HAVE to fight, the same as the soldiers who came before us.

    That, in my humble opinion, is the train of thought that Dr. Boyce Watkins was trying to get us to see. I applaud him for his effort.

  93. Dr. Christopher Mobley

    If he wasn’t a hero of some importance, then why was he hated so much and then martyred? He was a hero to people and a people to an idea that he and others worked, suffered, and died to try to achieve. Yes, ordinary people need to do more, but that doesn’t diminish what he meant and did then and what his legacy is today.

  94. Robynn H

    I agree Dr. Boyce. Also might I add, I question anyone especially elitists (1%) who control the media reshape or present a Black American man of African descent to make him palliable (soft, easy, acceptable) to the masses; white masses and simple negroes.

    When I read and listen to tapes of Rev/Dr Martin Luther King Jr I hear a strong Black man with God as his lead along with hundreds of other Black people speak againist the injustices, hate and other demonic forces that were and continue to stonewall Black Americans.

    He did not do this alone. Rev/Dr Martin Luther King Jr AND other Black Americans of African descent are our heroes!

  95. N. Roseman

    Doctor, Doictor , Doctor,
    What in the world have you been smoking child? I am almost 61 and this is the first time I have ever heard this imagery of Dr. King and wouldn’t you know it comes from an educated Black man who at the same time admits he is ranting.

    Rant, verb (used without object) 1. To speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave: The demagogue ranted for hours.

    Oh how I long for the days when we were Negroes, regal in our ways and stature. Dignified and unapologetically black no matter what our vocation. We taught one another whatever we learned and kept our criticisms in the family. This sir is just a very brief synopsis of what has taken place
    Then Martin got killed, Negroes turned African-American and Afro(hairdo)-American or whatever else White people decided we should be called and instead of separate but equal we have been lost in assimilation.

    Instead of banding together to preserve and increase our progress our so called leaders divided and began a claw to the top at our expense. Up until this very day we have managed to deny our children their history by allowing the public school systems to relegate our history to one month out of the year. We have stood by and watched the public school systems “dumb down” our children’s education and trip us up with pseudo equality. Our elected leaders have begged for our votes then joined the establishment in keeping us boxed in and their pockets fat. Sure a few of us “made it” compared to the millions who haven’t and won’t because our own don’t like us and we have fallen into this bizarre frame of mind that every race and ethnicity is better and their goods and services are better than our own.

    Now you are going to help them degrade and downgrade Martin with this delusion you made up in your mind and you will probably do this to any Negroes who ever tried to do anything for us. You, the black bourgeoisie and the educated but politically ignorant don’t agree with anything that doesn’t directly benefit you and only aspire to help yourselves. If I am wrong tell us what you have done for our children’s education. Me? When I am well enough I tutor after school.

  96. N. Roseman

    Dr Watkins, There is no MLKJr. Who is going to take up the problem going on right now? States are passing Jim Crow laws. hendering the vote is only the beginning. While everyone is looking at other menutia they are mounting a attack on us with new “JIM CROW LAWS”. Any ideas on what to do about this?

  97. Denise G.

    Dr. Boyce,
    You seem to be conflating real life heroes with comic book images. No, Dr. King couldn’t leap tall buildings or conquer racism with a might swipe of his arm, but just as we have viewed Ghandi and other men of conscience who have tried to effect positive change in the world as heroic, so we must accord the same recognition to Dr. King. Heroes stand up for what’s decent and fundamentally right and show us all how to be courageous in the face of injustice. In that sense, Dr. King was not just a hero, but a superhero.

  98. Steven H

    Malachi 4:6 (Last verse of the Old Testament)

    And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

    Isaiah 3:12-13 (God speaking)
    12 – As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

    13 – The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.

    This is our turn-around point. Not education. Not protesting. Dr. King was a father, raised by a father. This is now no longer the majority situation in our community. God Word will not come back void (Isaiah 55:11). Again, this is about adherence to God’s righteous standard and truth.

    The question is… Are we willing to heed to the Word and repent and change this custody trend?…. or will we seek an answer to our liking the way we always have (see Isaiah 30:8-10)…. causing us to continue to fail…

  99. C J

    After reading many of the comments, it is obvious that many of us are still in need of “super heroes” in order to realize our individual potential. Charles Barkley told us to look to our own families for heroes. Dr. King was a great man and a hero to many of us. I think Dr. Boyce is suggesting that we look inside ourselves in order to find the heroes we need to continue this struggle for freedom and equality, and not to let the “media” marginalize his efforts for our children and make it to somehow seem impossible for each of us to become the “hero” our children will need to continue the struggle.

  100. I answered you yesterday.you didn’t even think my comment among the others. I use to think when I said I was black and proud it meant a lot to me but you just crushed my pride.I usually don’t express myself,but I WAS SO MAD that you had the nerve to down our only black modern HERO. Then you don’t even print it. I KIND of knew you were really white ,trying to make us upset. Didn’t work. JUST MADE ME A STRONGER BLACK WOMAN.

  101. Charles Burgin

    Certainly Daddy King’s son is not on par with any of the “Marvel” heroes. He’s much more inspirational and thought provoking. I thought I understood exactly where Brother Martin was coming from and where he was trying to go in his dealings with White America and freedom for the Negro people. Yeppers, in school they taught me all about HIS story! So simple it was until I came across words attributed to Bro. Martin that hit me like a brick upside the head. Did’nt know Brotherman had found constructive fault with his own people. I thought it was all about him fighting, marching, demonstrating for social-economic equality of opportunity. Getting the “Man’s” foot up off our necks in a literal sense. Gaining consciousness with this new found truth, I did immediately commit King’s words to my literary stash. Thought provoking words which are most relevant today when engaging young Black males on the topic of negative self-hate and fratricide at our group mentoring sessions. Were Brother Martin alive today would he still feel the same as he did some forty-something years ago when he stated: There are millions of Negroes devoid of pride and self respect, and they will accept injustice. Then you have other Negroes that are comfortable and complacent, and they consider themselves above the struggle–M.L.King Jr.

    What would Dr. King have to say (were he alive today) about Tom Burrell’s Brainwashed: Challenging The Myth Of Black Inferiority. How so many of us still act like slaves some 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Surely he’d embrace Michelle Alexander’s treatise The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In the Age of Colorblindness, but how would he have galvanized or utilized his forces to demand “real” change in the lives and circumstances of impoverished, disenfranchised people; having to deal with the nation’s first Black President? Would this real true hero buy into slogans of “Yes we can?” Would he force the U.S. Government to address the immigration issue. Captain America, Marvel super hero or not–is coopted by the super rich who want to take their country back! So we are the ones that we have been waiting on, and in the spirit Brotherman (Super) King we gotta get busy! Shanti, Bro. Charles Burgin, Founder Brotherman’s Progress Mentors Matter in Buffalo, New York. bromaninc@gmail.com

  102. Bianka

    King was a hero, he gave his life fighting for others. That alone gives him the right to be called a hero and your right Boyce, he was no Superhero. King did what we are all capable of doing but most of us are afraid to stand up for what’s right or against the establishment for fear of our peers or criticism. We have watered down the dream. We today are not helping to preserve the dream, remembering or listening to a speech is not remembering the dream, living out the message and principles in the speech is what preserves the dream! We can’t keep memorializing him every holiday with our church programs and luncheons or take the holiday as R&R day. We have to live out the dream and help preserve it, let’s not water down the dream.

  103. Darren T

    Dr. B ,…one can listen to any of his speeches and can feel his humble care for humanity…I would like to belevie that NONE of us would reduce Dr.King to that of a cartoon character….

  104. Too bad we have to focus, as much as we do, on Dr. King’s mistakes. He had almost nothing to prod us with about our very own, choosing rather to overcome. Let us not further enslave ourselves by being embedded in the rear-view mirror of Black America but focus on the “Dream” ahead.

  105. Dr. moorman

    I am shocked and saddenned by some of the comments. By your comments you are creditting Dr. Boyce’s comments. To say that noone is fighting for the people today is like saying that Dr. King did something noone else could do. The only reason you don’t know about other Black leaders is because of the media (the media made Dr. King and after they did, they realized the mistakes they made and vowed to not use their resourses to elevate another Black leader). There were great leaders before Dr. King. What about Claudette Colver-the real face behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She was beaten and jailed, but the NAACP didn’t want to use this young Black Nappy-headed ghetto girl to represent the cause. They chose to groom Rosa Parks, their secretary, for the face of the movement. Rosa Parks was not tired and refused to give up her seat. It was staged and she had to be prepared for the role by the NAACP and others in the movement. What about Min. Farrakhan? Better yet, what about Malcolm, who also gave his life for us? We choose leaders based on popularity. If Dr. King were alive today half of you Ninja’s would disagree with him. It’s easy to love him now-he’s dead.
    @C Muhammad-have you been following Dr. Boyce’s career and the stand he has taken on many issues affecting us? Also, if you don’t feel that no one else is doing anything for the people, then maybe it is time that you did something.

  106. rasil

    You obviously have issues. You continually bash our heroes and Dr. King certainly was one. Your issue…no one recognizes you and will never will. I pray for healing in you and that God would circumcise your heart because Brother you have it BAD. There is never a kind word about our people that rolls from your lips. You are fundamentally envious and lack the proper understanding of our people and their contributions. This article makes NO sense to refer to Dr. King as “Superman”. If it were not for Dr. King you would not be able to have a voice here. Remember this everytime you bash one of ours as you typically do.

  107. Candace

    I agree with Dr. Boyce, we all have do what Dr. King was doing and that is standing up to unjustice. We have not came any further from the Jim Crow era at all. They are lynching us by long range planning against us.
    Taking the education system, we can no longer be mis-educated so we can get a diploma to educate our-selves to the next level. Keep up the good works Dr. Boyce.

  108. I think that Dr. Boyce Watkins is reinforcing the idea that we have a great deal of work to do in order to finish what Dr. MLK started many years ago. If he is a hero, than we are dependant on him or someone like him to come and save us–if he is one of us, a man before his time, and of his time–then, greatness is something that we all can personify in our own unique way. I get the message, and it makes you wander: were, are today’s racially conscious brothers from the 60’s and if Tavis, Dr. West, and Rev. Al Sharpton are the vocal leaders of today… why don’t they get in the trenches, or speak at some of these presidential campaigns from the audience or on the panel? Malcolm and Martin in my view were visible leaders that led from the front and back. It is ok to lead from the back, but in these trying times, leading from the front is so desperately needed. This young generation is not connected to the past in the way that they should be!

  109. Dr. Christopher Mobley

    Do they want to be? I wonder sometimes. I suppose coming up in the 70’s and 80’s like I did we were close enough with knowing what our parents, family members, and neighbors did to have a direct appreciation and respect even as we created our own dynamic.
    But today? I wonder, between the disaffected in the hood to the middle/upper middle suburbanites the distance bothers me. Even when we try are they listening? Do they want to? (Even when we KNOW that they desperately need to)….

  110. Princess P

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was phenomenal in his courage, intelligence, bravery, consciousness, charismatic. A leader who fought a hard and arduous fight for our human rights. Of course he is not a superhero. King was a man, of flesh and bone, he was human. He cried and hurt like all of us. I will never ever take anything away from this man. He was magnificient and paved the way for so many of our freedoms. Dr. Joyce – how can you write something negative about him and insinuate that he is not superhero. For those who listened and lives were made better by his sacrifices – to them – he was a superhero. King would be disappointed in the State of America and the state of Black people today. Extremely disappointed and disturbed in your subtle attempt to……lessen Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  111. MaCon L. Jones

    Admittedly I like many of you were insensed initially as I started reading Dr. Boyces’ statement! However; I had to regroup, clear my mind and read it a second time as I know he of all people would not be critical or disrespectful to Dr. nor his memory in any way! Consequently; I ask those of you who are thus far insensed by his remarks to reread them with an open mind and I really think you all will get a more realistic understanding of the point he is trying to make! I sure did! Quite simply I took it to mean Dr. King would not only be displeased with the state of not only our nation as a whole but with us individually and collectively regardless of our race, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation and any other applicable accolades! I agree with Dr. Boyce since Dr. Kings death we have dropped the ball and seem to be acting like a ship without a rudder! There has been a decided lull to say the least and the election of our first Black President should have added even more momentum to our struggle to continue Dr. Kings legacy! The fact is WE SIMPLY HAVE NOT done what Dr. King would have expected of us and I for one have ashamed of this for a long time! Consequently; subsequent to my second retirement I have been doing what I can to do my part! Now is the time for real bi-partisan effort on all our part!

    us individually and collectively as a people! Dr. King would not have wanted the momentum of his time by all people to die with him but rather be impowered by him and a renewed e

  112. their will be myths, halftruths, exaggerations…..and yes outright lies….he was….a great man…..and accomplished…some extraordinary…..things……focusing…on the gross injustices..that Black people faced every day..in not only the south……but all over the country….and bringing international attention…to these crimes…..but he was a human……and had faults…like all human beings……however the propaganda machine..of the powers that are …for their …own selfish thinly veiled reasons…will corrupt..that truth…as they have……about the facist/racist “founding father,s”…..and about their most revered icon….Abraham Lincoln…… a self avowed white supremist…..as well as a consumated (opportunist)politican….whom loved…..skits of Blacks in ministreal shows……..as well as made many political moves….that can be considered anti- black…including supporting the draconian..Illnois “Black codes” laws…of his home state for all of his living years…as a politican….so now what?!?Forced into Glory…..By Lerone Bennett should be required reading for all ..children…specifically ours!!!!

  113. DR. Boyces, You sound like a hater with your opinion of M.L.K. you and tavis with his opinion of the President .

  114. wilma scott

    Perhaps how Dr Boyce presented his opinion is the problem people are having. I actually agree with him if you take the time to read and think about what he is saying. We ALL consider Dr. King a hero. He was a great leader, motivator, freedom fighter, etc., and he was also a MAN. The fact that as a man he had so much compassion and strength, is what makes him a hero to me. However, what I think Dr. Boyce is saying is that we have allowed him to be marginalized by what it is that we celebrate. Across the country, MLK day is celebrated by parades on streets that are pothole filled and unkept. On streets that only get thought about in February for one or two days. We hear, I have a Dream Speeches over and over, historical accounts of the civil rights movement, backyard parties, and a day off.

    Dr. King looked around when he was alive and saw poverty, black on black crime, a dismal education system, high unemployment, etc., etc.. He acted to address these issues. When Dubose, Booker T,. Stokley, Fannie Lou, Malcolm, and the many named and unnamed heros, held the tourch out for someone to take and carry on, Dr. King stood up, took the tourch, with all its flaws, missteps, personal challenges, errors, poor judgement calls, etc.,, etc., tried to move it forward with his life. He an all of those around him who took the torch at one point or another, they are all heros. He and they have been or are being confined in this very small imagry created by us and allowed to be expanded by “them”. When you look around today, like Dr. King did, our sons are being carted off to prison in DROVES; our daughters have multiple babies with no visible daddy’s, they have one of the highest HIV rates; unemployment is almost triple the national average, our elderly can’t sit on their front porches for fear of being shot or beaten, NOT BY THE KKK but by the sons and daughters they raised. The picture is the same one that Dr. King tried to address 50 years ago. It is the same one that a torch was held out for someone to take – The question is not whether Dr. KIng was a hero, the question is whether their are heroes among us today who will take the torch he lelf and carru it forward. Let is truely pay tribute to the vastness of who Dr King was by taking the torch and moving us, as a people, forward!!

  115. Never mind that we don’t have a black Super Hero and now you, Mr Watkins want to diminish and reduce the sole super role model for civil right expression that we have to nothing. On top of that you want to blame those who desire to follow his leadership as making him out to be more than he happen to be. Thanks but that sounds like your agreeing with his enemies by saying he was nothing special or extraordinary. Oh, but he was and by majority opinion at that. Wrong opinion this time sir. Anyway, how many others are cast as a type of savior to their people. Why not MLK.

  116. Only super heroes submit and give the highest sacrifice by giving everything for those they love and care about. So, thank you DR.”SUPERMAN” KING.

  117. Ditto!!! “Perhaps how Dr Boyce presented his opinion is the problem people are having. I actually agree with him if you take the time to read and think about what he is saying. We ALL consider Dr. King a hero. He was a great leader, motivator, freedom fighter, etc., and he was also a MAN. The fact that as a man he had so much compassion and strength, is what makes him a hero to me. However, what I think Dr. Boyce is saying is that we have allowed him to be marginalized by what it is that we celebrate. Across the country, MLK day is celebrated by parades on streets that are pothole filled and unkept. On streets that only get thought about in February for one or two days. We hear, I have a Dream Speeches over and over, historical accounts of the civil rights movement, backyard parties, and a day off.

    Dr. King looked around when he was alive and saw poverty, black on black crime, a dismal education system, high unemployment, etc., etc.. He acted to address these issues. When Dubose, Booker T,. Stokley, Fannie Lou, Malcolm, and the many named and unnamed heros, held the tourch out for someone to take and carry on, Dr. King stood up, took the tourch, with all its flaws, missteps, personal challenges, errors, poor judgement calls, etc.,, etc., tried to move it forward with his life. He an all of those around him who took the torch at one point or another, they are all heros. He and they have been or are being confined in this very small imagry created by us and allowed to be expanded by “them”. When you look around today, like Dr. King did, our sons are being carted off to prison in DROVES; our daughters have multiple babies with no visible daddy’s, they have one of the highest HIV rates; unemployment is almost triple the national average, our elderly can’t sit on their front porches for fear of being shot or beaten, NOT BY THE KKK but by the sons and daughters they raised. The picture is the same one that Dr. King tried to address 50 years ago. It is the same one that a torch was held out for someone to take – The question is not whether Dr. KIng was a hero, the question is whether their are heroes among us today who will take the torch he lelf and carru it forward. Let is truely pay tribute to the vastness of who Dr King was by taking the torch and moving us, as a people, forward!!”
    Wilma Scott

  118. Ronald B. Saunders

    Freedom One: I agree with your message but we cannot as group vote again for Barack Obama.
    It remains perplexing as to why so many Black people remain in support of Barack Obama– the absence of historical perspective and critical analysis can have this effect on people. Obama’s actions regarding Black America, are antithetical to those of the late great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    In regards to Black people, especially poor Black people, Dr. King had a knack for placing their living conditions within the context of institutional racism and its impact on their communities. In 1968 just months before his assassination, Dr. King said, ” It is incontestable and deplorable that NEGROES have committed crimes: but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the WHITE society.” The great civil rights leader said those words within a speech he gave to his staff at a SCLC meeting in Frogmore, South Carolina as he was preparing them for the POOR’s PEOPLE’s Campaign. Dr. King commitment to Black people and poor people in general, was the polar opposite to a man like Barack Obama who seems to thrive at marginalizing those demographics while CATERING to his corporate and military boses.
    * In the same Beyond Vietnam speech, Dr. King gave a prescient warning when he said, ” When machines and comptuers, profit movtives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
    In 2012, much of the world is suffering from the impact of AMERICA’S insatiable hunger for global domination. The US’s runaway military industrial complex continues to take lives away from innocent civilians in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and formerly Iraq and Libya.
    The American military industrial complex creates carnage abroad, all the while preventing Americans from having things like a single-payer healthcare system. In 2012 institutional racism is a disease that destroys the lives of Black and Brown people in Ameirca, by way of Police brutality, economic inequality, and unequal public school system– to name a few. In 2012 runaway capitalism is imposing economic terrorism on countless people and their rapidly disintegrating communities.
    Dr. King words may be more relevant now, than ever before.
    Dr. King once said, ” Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Ending institutional racism in America, eradicating poverty, and stopping the US’s destructive wars, are all things that matter.

    ” Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere” Dr- Martin Luther King, Jr.

  119. Dr. Christopher Mobley

    So who are you voting for, Newt, Ron, Rick, or Mitt?

  120. marthajean roe

    This statement certainly helps me to take my position about MLK.
    I am still awe-struck by His Courage. It is an awesome demostration from a man. he may be a common man, as we all are-but there is no way I have the unctioning of the spirit to be willing to do even try to do what he did. There is no way. And yet, I am inspired to want to be and do what he demostrated. I feel like a dwarf a weakling a coward in relations to Dr. MLK. Please take into account that Dr. King was 39 years old when he was killed. How did he summon up so much wisdom. He was so intuned
    with his convictions. He was a genuis. He inspires me so much today to enjoy being impartial toward every man, woman, and child.
    This inspiration is more intense today than it was during his lifetime.
    Dr. King does not have to prove His Greatness. It is in the shape of my heart that he lives. It is he who is responsible for shaping my heart as it is today.
    I can no longer justify my racism-my supremacy. And since this is true-my work today is not to hate-but to do the harder work of trying to LOVE my fellows no matter what!!!! I can only thank God for what he demonstrated
    to me through Dr. King. The possibilities of racial impartiality, freedom, and justice became manifest, and my dream of to live my life in a way that demonstrates an abundance of these qualities and practices in my everyday life.

  121. Dr. Christopher Mobley

    Great words! I agree with everything you’ve said.


    In their blind rush to defend one of their annointed leaders, most of those who responded to the original article missed the point. I believe that the writer was asking us to be aware of the danger of the practice of uncritical hero worship, even when, (or especially when) the one who receives such worship is a genuinely great man . The other danger the author is warning us about is that of an over emphasis on symbolism. Symbolic “progress” is so much easier than real change is for both Blacks and for America as a whole because it means “everyone” can feel good even when, in reality, it is a continuation of business as usual, with women and people of color in positions of power acting as overseers and not as agents of change. The Civil Rights movement, just like the struggle against slavery which preceded it, and the anti-apartheid movement which coincided with it, and which continued after it “ended,” were not the works of any single individual. They were MOVEMENTS whose success or failure depended on the dedication, hard work, struggle, and personal sacrifice of many thousands of nameless individuals, who carried on in spite of the odds, and in spite of the many defeats and setbacks they experienced over very long periods of time. In reality, Dr. Martin Luther King, as heroic as he was, was NOT the movement, he was not even THE “leader” of the movement. Due to his commitment, as well as that of his supporters, and his matchless skills as an orator, he became the movements greatest spokesman and its best known and most respected symbol. During his lifetime, his uncompromising message of peace and non-violence often resonated more with people in other countries than it did in America with Americans. This is not, and was not an introspective society, and it did not and does not like criticism, especially when it comes from members of “ungrateful” minority groups. Because of this, Dr. King did not have anywhere near the unanimous “support” or popularity which came to him after he was murdered and the riots broke out and cities all over America went up in flames. Once he was dead, it was very easy for the establishment to censor his message and to water it down in order to “rebrand” him as a wishy washy, non-threatening dreamer whose only plan was that someday, the oppressors would experience a mass epiphany and stop being oppressors. The man who gave the “I Have a Dream” speech is the same one who gave the “Other America” speech. The famous letter from Birmingham jail was written to White AND Black religious leaders who felt that he and the movement were moving too fast and expecting too much, not to LBJ or to Bull Connor. Try to imagine President Barack Obama or any of the current crop of Black “leaders” giving any version of the “Other America” speech under any circumstances. Ask yourself why that is the case.

  123. Princess P

    It is worrisome that some try and belittle the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was no superhero…he was a man who tried with courage and heart to make a better America for us…and he did it all without superhuman strength or powers. Martin Luther King Jr. was just a man who did extraordinary things under inhumane conditions. None of us are doing what he accomplished…could we put our lives on the line for something we believed in that would affect generatios to come. He was brilliant!!!

  124. Ronald B. Saunders

    Why did Watkins erase my comment that I sent to you? What is Watkins afraid of?

    Read the my blog post titled Black Politics, Campaign 2012 And Tomorrow at
    The author of that article was a member of the 1972 Gary Convention, and I was on the front lines fighting for Black people when often they didn’t have the courage to stand-up for themselves.

    After you read that article then we can have a construcitve conversation about who or why we should vote in the 2012 Presidentail election.

  125. Dr Mobley: Dr Boyce Watkins did post my detailed comment to you.

    After you read the great article titled Black Politics, Campaign 2012, And Tomorrow then we can have a very constructive conversation about why we should or shouldn’t vote in the 2012 Presidential election.

    Note Dr. King did not sell out to Goldman Sachs bankers or corporate-financiers.
    Dr. Watkins works for the educational industrial complex and he is no more a fighter for Black people than ” Mickey Mouse.”
    This Dr. Watkins is beholden to folks in the educational-industrial complex..
    Dr. Mobely, I don’t remember Boyce Watkins speaking out in the Senate Confirmation Hearing on Clarence Thomas. I don’t remember Boyce Watkins involved with the Black Panther Party. I don’t remember Watkins being involved in the struggle for Black Liberation. Maybe he was one of those ” We Shall Overcome Negroes.” Or perhaps Boyce was just sitting on the sidelines like most Negroes watching all of that history being made in the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s… and beyond.

  126. Dr. King was a servant, leader and visionary. His work is well documented and my goal is to demonstrate the principles he taught. He was not the first and will not be the last soldier to do God’s will. I remain encouraged.

  127. Bea

    I understand what you mean. There are many who idolize MLK. Yes he did great things,but some act as if he’s a God. I know of many that if you say anything negative against MLK,they think it is blasphemy!

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