Dr. King’s Dreams – Rational, Radical, Revolutionary !!!

Posted on January 16, 2016 by


Dr. King’s Dreams – Rational, Radical, Revolutionary !!!

By Brother Mxolisi T. Sowell

As the title suggests, and as an in-depth perusal of his own words will drive home, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of many “dreams” – Rational (clear, sensible, logical), Radical (advocating thorough political and social reform), and Revolutionary (envisioning a complete, dramatic, wide-reaching change in the racist character and practices of the society known as the United States of America).

As we come once again to the anniversary of his birth (January 15, 1929), and reflections on his purposeful life, cut short by that April 4, 1968 assassination, we will, of course, be deluged once again with presentations that would leave the average victim of the dumbing of American minds thinking that Dr. King had only one dream. Those presentations will focus on his “I Have a Dream” speech at the August 28, 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”, where over 250,000 people were in attendance, and millions more via a world-wide television audience. But that dream was only one chapter or episode from the stream of “dreams” that his “inner urge to serve humanity” brought to his heart and soul in the midst of the stream of injustices that U.S. society customarily imposed (imposes) on the Black population of this nation.

There can be little doubt that Dr. King’s courage to dream the dreams of justice for his people that his rational, radical, revolutionary words reflect were in some degree nurtured by words and spirit of that same character that came from his Morehouse College mentor, Dr. Benjamin Mays, who was known for uttering the following:

“It must be borne in the mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace to not reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach.”

Under those kind of words and that kind of spirit, young Martin felt the urge in 1947 to go into Christian ministry, believing that he would be a “rational” minister, “a respectful force for ideas, even social protest.” By the time he completed his seminary doctoral studies in 1955, it seems that the “rational” had grown to include the radical and revolutionary. This was reflected by Marcus Garvey Wood, a seminary classmate of Dr. King, as he recalled the following: “When we were in seminary together, King would walk around the hall preaching. He had more experience than some of us, although I was nine years older than he . . . But when he became very popular, he called us together and said, ‘You all must stick by me, for I am going to dismantle this society.’”


Clearly, Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech of 1963 was mild in comparison to other “dreams” that constantly flowed from his heart and soul. And surely he was on the government’s radar long before that date. But it was then that Hoover’s FBI decided to expand their COINTELPRO operation against him and the SCLC, targeting Dr. King and his growing influence as a major threat (enemy) to the United States. A memo written by agent William C. Sullivan (google that name) two days after the march reflects the vicious, venomous, ultimately deadly nature of that COINTELPRO decision:

“In the light of King’s powerful demagogic speech yesterday he stands head and shoulders above all other Negro leaders put together when it comes to influencing great masses of Negroes. We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.

The probability that Dr. King had had a “dream” for dealing with the dynamics that such venom would seek to impose upon his rational, radical, revolutionary life might be seen in these words of his:

“And I say to you . . . that if you have never found something so dear and so precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live. . . . one day some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause–and you refuse to do it because you are afraid; you refuse to do it because you want to live longer; you’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you’re afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you or shoot at you or bomb your house, and so you refuse to take the stand. Well you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90! And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

You died when you refused to stand up for right.                                                                                                        You died when you refused to stand up for truth.                                                                                                     You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”


Visit https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/23924.Martin_Luther_King_Jr_, pages 1 thru 19 !!! for exposure to numerous other “dreams” of Dr. King. Let those dreams help us choose to LIVE, with Rational, Radical, Revolutionary “Dreams” of our own.

Dr. King’s Dreams . . . (some of them)

For the Black Church (and others): As leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded in 1957, to harness the moral authority and organizing power of Black churches to conduct nonviolent protests in the service of civil rights reform, Dr. King brought his rational, radical, revolutionary dream spirit forward, as expressed in the following:

“The belief that God will do everything for man is as untenable as the belief that man can do everything for himself. It, too, is based on a lack of faith. We must learn that to expect God to do everything while we do nothing is not faith but superstition.”

“Only a ‘dry-as-dust’ religion prompts a minister to extol the glories of Heaven while ignoring the social conditions that cause men an Earthly hell.” . . . “When religion becomes so involved in a future good ‘over yonder’ that it forgets the present evils over here it is a dry-as-dust religion and needs to be condemned.”

“So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch-defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent—and often even vocal—sanction of things as they are. But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.”


For the American society: “Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of (Africans) on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations.”

“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. … A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, ‘This is not just.’ It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, ‘This is not just.’ The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.”

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”


For the Education of Our Children: “I favor integration on buses and in all areas of public accommodation and travel . . . I am for equality. However, I think integration in our public schools is different. In that setting, you are dealing with one of the most important assets of an individual — the mind. White people view Black people as inferior. A large percentage of them have a very low opinion of our race. People with such a low view of the Black race cannot be given free rein and put in charge of the intellectual care and development of our boys and girls.”

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”


About Capitalistic Society: “Capitalism is always in danger of inspiring men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity.”

“In our society, it is psychological murder to deprive a man of a job…you are in substance saying to that man ‘You have no right to exist.’”

“When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty and shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up and express their anger and frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard.”

“But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”


And the “DREAMS” continued:

MLK Dream“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

“…The straitjackets of race prejudice and discrimination do not wear only southern labels. The subtle, psychological technique of the North has approached in its ugliness and victimization of the Negro the outright terror and open brutality of the South.”

“As long as the struggle was down in Alabama and Mississippi, they could look afar and think about it and say how terrible people are. When they discovered brotherhood had to be a reality in Chicago and that brotherhood extended to next door, then those latent hostilities came out.”

“Our only hope lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.”

“The question is not if we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”