Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke withWMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” with Larry O’Connor and Brian Wilson onMonday. Dr. King said that using MLK’s dream to promote “causes” canbe a way to “hijack” his memory. “Causes divide us,” King said. Shewent on to say that “agape love” and “patience” in protests are thingsthat “many of those who marched” with her uncle have forgotten.
BRIAN WILSON, WMAL HOST: Well, you say you don’t want to use the wordand that magnificent speech that he delivered, that inspiring speechthat we still study today, and we still look at as one of the greatmoments in American history. And yet it seemed that a lot of peoplewere wanting to attach their cause to the reputation and to the legendof Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
DR. ALVEDA KING: Well, actually causes divide us. They are politicalin nature and divisive. They are usually uninformed or misinformed, orjust downright deceptive. And so when I say I don’t want to use theword “hijack,” it’s OK we can say “hijack,” but I thank you for thisopportunity to explain it. Because too many of my colleagues say, “Ohthey’ve hijacked the dream,” without the full explanation. And so yes,hijack because it is deceptive, it is deceitful and it is harmful. Soif we are able to explain why then I do agree with you.
WILSON: There was also Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) this weekend during his speech aboutthe march on Washington, and he said that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.came to him and said, “John, you need to think about your tone here.You’re coming off too strong.” … Do you think that tone wassomething that Dr. King was sensitive to at that time?
DR. KING: It wasn’t so much tone, as in moderation, but patience andagape love. And that’s one thing that many of those who marched withDr. King have forgotten. He was very strong and forceful, but it wasin a loving way, like Jesus Christ, you know? Jesus was not moderate,but of course he delivered those messages with that unfailing love ofGod and with enduring patience. And so we’re tired, I’m tired, that 50years later we have still not achieved that dream. And yet, we have tobe firm, patient and powerful. And so words like “tolerance” andWe need truth. We need power.