MLK would be ‘disappointed’ by today’s poverty and income inequality, son says

'Please don’t act like everyone loved my father. He was assassinated.'

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Martin Luther King III said his father would be disappointed by the current state of poverty and income equality, which he fought passionately against as a leader of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.  

In a New York Times video op-ed published on MLK Day, King III, 68, reminded activists that his father was “crusading for higher wages for Black sanitation workers” before he was assassinated in 1968.

Read More: Maxine Waters says celebrating MLK is even more ‘crucial’ following Capitol attack

“Their work conditions were abysmal. Low pay. No sick leave. And many were on welfare,” King III said. “In a speech to the workers, Dad said the issue is injustice. The issue is ‘the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants.'”

He continued, “I think if my father saw the issues of poverty and income inequality that exist today, he would be greatly disappointed.”

King III then noted that nearly 40 million are currently living in poverty compared to 25 million in his father’s heyday. 

“While billionaires pay a lower tax rate than the working class, Americans who teach our kids, deliver our food and drive our buses are struggling.” he wrote.

“If you really want to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the principles that my father stood for, our whole government needs to step up, from creating a cabinet position focused on fighting poverty to passing a universal basic income,” he continued.

Read More: FBI audio of plans to destroy MLK will be released by National Archives

In the video King III acknowledged that while many view MLK as one of the most graceful people in American history, he “was deeply unpopular” with “two-thirds of Americans” during his fight for equality. His sister, Bernice King, also noted on Twitter, “Please don’t act like everyone loved my father. He was assassinated.”

According to ABC News, from November 1963 until his assassination on April 4, 1968, the FBI wiretapped King’s telephone, bugged his hotel rooms every time he traveled and sought information from sources close to him, theGRIO previously reported. 

The National Archives plans to release unheard FBI audio from when its director, J. Edgar Hoover, sought to destroy the growing influence of King Jr. The audio is set to be released on Jan. 31, 2027.

In the meantime, MLK/FBI, directed by Sam Pollard, was released on-demand Friday. The film chronicles one of the darkest moments in the FBI’s history — their obsessive surveillance and harassment of the beloved civil rights leader who they believed was a threat to white America.

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