Remembering The Unpopular MLK Jr.

One of the more popular things I’ve written for work. Thought I’d share it here also because of how important it is to remember what MLK Jr. actually stood for and how unpopular he was because of it. How quickly we forget.

End Poverty

Today will be largely dedicated to remembering the popular Martin Luther King Jr., the one that everyone supports as a national hero. This revisionist history is unfortunate, because it obscures the deeper vision of King, a vision that remains unpopular to this day.

First, to the polling data from Gallup:

Gallup MLK jr

From 1963-1965, King was, at best, divisive. While slightly more people had favorable than unfavorable views (except in 65), those with highly unfavorable views outweigh highly favorable ones. But in 1966, King is clearly quite unpopular, with 44% having highly unfavorable views. So, what happened in 1966? Well, King started to say things like this:

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day…

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