Martin Luther King III's powerful speech on Black Lives Matter protests

29 June 2020, 21:21

By Fiona Jones

Martin Luther King III told LBC what his father, iconic civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr, would have made of the global Black Lives Matter movement.

Martin Luther King III remarked that his father would have been proud of young people involving themselves in the struggle.

He told Iain that when his father came along when he was in his early 30s, there were other equality movements, including Malcolm X's Black Panther movement, that were gaining strength and advocating a different kind of leadership.

"They all wanted to encourage the liberation of people of colour but they had different strategies and Dad was able to respect them although he always wanted to engage in non-violence," said Mr King.

"What he said was riots are the language of the unheard, he empathised and understood although he never condoned violence. He didn't that believe violence was the way, he always believed there was another way, but he understood sometimes people do resort to violence."

He continued that his father would have supported the primary intentions of the Black Lives Matter movement unequivocally.

Black Lives Matter protesters taking a knee below the Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington
Black Lives Matter protesters taking a knee below the Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington. Picture: PA

"If Dad had lived we may not even need to have a notion or movement saying Black Lives Matter," Mr King said, stating that 52 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee, his father alongside sanitation workers held up signs saying "I am a man", which sent the strong message of "treat me like a human being."

"52 years later, blacks and whites and Latinos and Hispanics have signs that say Black Lives Matter because we still don't have dignity, we still don't have respect, we're still not treated like human beings.

"That has to change so I think wholeheartedly Dad would be absolutely behind what the Black Lives Matter stand for," Mr King said.

Iain asked if Mr King was concerned some of the routes the movement was taking, such as the bid to defund the police.

Mr King reflected, "Martin Luther King Jr wasn't killed because he was talking about people riding in the front of the bus, he wasn't killed because he was talking about people being able to sit down at a restaurant...he was killed because he talked about a radical redistribution of wealth and resources in this nation.

"Martin Luther King Jr would have supported Black Lives Matter protests unequivocally," his son told LBC
"Martin Luther King Jr would have supported Black Lives Matter protests unequivocally," his son told LBC. Picture: PA

"He talked about a living wage back in 1967, that's why he was killed, because he was talking about radical policies. So if you really think about it, no one wants to deal this but capitalism has to be structured in a slightly different way if people are going to be able to emerge.

"One percent of the population can't continue to comprise 60 and 70% of the wealth, that is a remedy for disaster for the whole society."

He told Iain that everyone should have the right to a decent job, a decent home, healthcare and justice "in these free democratic countries where all the wealth just seems to be with a few."

He urged, "We can and we must do better."

The global human rights leader Martin Luther King III also told Iain Dale that Donald Trump "consistently reaffirms who he is" after retweeting a video showing one of his supporters loudly shouting "white power".

"His father was a member of the Ku Klux Klan so why should anyone be surprised of his actions?" Mr King said, adding that it is disappointing the United States has allowed this sort of person to emerge as their leader.

He said if people actively participate in a fight for equality "like they are poised to do, then his days are numbered."

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