When most Americans think of late civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we often picture a unifying Christian minister who used non-violence to advance his dream of racial equality in the United States. But in death, has Dr. King been whitewashed?

In the final installment of this two-part series, Jaye provides an overview of Dr. King’s transformation – from “outside agitator” to “colorblind civil rights icon.” She examines the making of a hero in the American consciousness, and how willful distortion of Dr. King’s legacy served a political and social purpose. Is our society that different today than the society of the 1960s? And how has the “rehabilitated” King given the United States an easy out from its original sin of racism?

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When most Americans think of late civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we often picture a unifying Christian minister who used non-violence to advance his dream of racial equality in the United States. King would have been 90 years old this year, had he not been assassinated. We observe his birthday every January, and often hear his name invoked, as well as that of other civil rights leaders, in February during Black History Month.

But in death, has Dr. King been whitewashed?

In the first installment of a two-part series, Jaye discusses some widely-held beliefs regarding Dr. King and the world in which he lived. She provides context for Dr. King’s life, and sets the record straight on a respected, but misunderstood historical figure.

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