Don’t forget how controversial MLK was

There was a little old lady who came in to volunteer for the Hillary campaign in my town who told me the story of how her minister father was the one who invited Dr. King to St. Augustine. For his troubles, the Klan tried to frame him for murder, tried unsuccessfully to fire bomb the family home multiple times, and her mother ended up packing up herself and the younger kids and leaving St. Augustine for somewhere safer until things died down. The woman telling me the story decided to stay in St. Augustine with her father and spent months sleeping on the floor of her bedroom closet because it was the safest place if the Klan attacked.

We talk about Martin Luther King Jr in terms of platitudes and pithy quotes, but the reality is that in his life he was so controversial that just inviting him to town meant being willing to sacrifice your life. People hated him, hated everything he stood for, and violently attacked anyone who stood with him. He wasn’t just some milquetoast inspirational figure, he was a man who put his life on the line to change the world and ended up paying for freedom with his blood.

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